Pandemic Tightens Holiday Pork Supplies

Dec. 23, 2020
Specialty pork cuts, especially boneless hams, are in shorter than usual supply this holiday season, partly due to meatpackers’ struggles with the pandemic.

Specialty pork cuts, especially boneless hams, are in shorter than usual supply this holiday season, partly due to meatpackers’ struggles with the pandemic.

Some pork suppliers are placing limits on orders from their trade customers, leading to higher prices and lower supplies, the Wall Street Journal reports. Some stores have had to cancel their usual holiday promotions on hams, leading to prices up to 25% higher than normal.

The problem for meat processors is that production is being lowered by absenteeism and, in some cases, slower line speeds due to the pandemic. This situation is running up against holiday demand, not only from Christmas but from Chinese New Year in late January, a time for high meat consumption in the world’s largest pork-consuming nation.

Grocers also say other pork products are in short supply, including bacon, sausages and lunchmeat.

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