Demand for bacon and pork belly disappearance have been some of the strongest cuts over the last two years, but could that trend be slowing?

USDA’s Cold Storage report was released Nov. 20, showed that bellies were 315 percent above September 2001 stocks and 37 percent above October 2000 stocks.

Belly demand had risen to previously unheard of heights due largely to the popularity of bacon as an accessory item, particularly on fast food sandwiches. A slowing economy and the terrorist attack of September 11 caused a 9 percent drop in restaurant trade in September, but upscale restaurants were believed to take the biggest hit. However, it is possible that quick service restaurants were also hurt, and that could explain part of the lag in frozen pork belly disappearance. Higher retail prices for bacon has also slowed disappearance from a year ago.

Total frozen pork stocks were 17 percent above September totals, but 2 percent below October 2000 levels. Total red meat supplies in freezers were 10 percent above September levels but 1 percent below October 2000 levels. Total stocks of chicken were 2 percent above September levels, but 17 percent below October 2000 levels.