New Brunswick

Sizzling bacon prices cause headaches for restaurant owners

The owner of a Fredericton diner says the cost of bacon has doubled since the beginning of the pandemic. Industry experts blame pressures on the supply chain.

Fredericton diner owner David Halfyard has seen bacon prices double during the pandemic

Bacon sizzles on a grill in the kitchen at The Cabin, a Fredericton diner. (Gary Moore/CBC)

There's enough bacon sizzling on the grill at this well-known Fredericton diner to feed the weekday mid-morning breakfast rush.

The Cabin is a small place that has been around for about 80 years, and it's a bit of an institution in the provincial capital.

David Halfyard has owned it for the last 22 years. Its bacon reputation is at least partly responsible for the diner's success. 

"I know a little bit about bacon," he laughed.

But, over the course of the pandemic, the cost of his key menu item has skyrocketed.

"It's reached a crisis point," Halfyard said, adding that he's been riding out the increases, waiting for them to dip. 

David Halfyard has been the owner of The Cabin for 22 years. (Gary Moore/CBC)

According to Halfyard, a five kilogram box of bacon has gone from between 28 and 32 dollars to as high as 63 dollars over the course of the pandemic.

Halfyard hasn't adjusted his menu prices to reflect the increase, but admits he may have to if the trend continues for much longer.

It's something he expects other restaurant owners will have to eventually do as well, if they haven't already.

"They're [restaurants] either going to stop selling it or raise their prices to a point where people just can't go out and enjoy a simple bacon and eggs breakfast anymore," Halfyard said.

Halfyard admits he doesn't know what's driving the cost, but suspects it's several factors ranging from labour shortages to the cost of pork bellies. 

David Halfyard says a 5 kilogram box of bacon has gone from close to 30 dollars to over 60 dollars. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Gary Stordy is with the Canadian Pork Council, the national voice for hog producers. 

He said the simple answer comes down to bacon's popularity. 

"Bacon is incredibly tasty and it goes well with almost anything you can imagine — whether it's on your lettuce or on your hamburger, it's a tasty treat." 

"Demand is driving production and therefore it's having an impact on price," Stordy said.

But he admits that's the oversimplified answer, and that there's more to the sizzling cost.

Sizzling hot cost of bacon a troubling trend for restaurant owner

2 years ago
Duration 1:36
A Fredericton diner owner says the cost of bacon has doubled since the start of the pandemic — and it's unclear when that will change.

Stordy said pressures on the supply chain created by the pandemic have pushed bacon prices to where they are now.

"People have been working incredibly hard to ensure that the global food distribution system, or even here in Canada, functions. But it is under some pressure."

The Cabin is a well known diner in Fredericton. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Stordy said every layer of the chain is impacted. 

"Whether cardboard boxes, shipping containers, people to actually help us to process the animal and the product — moving it from A to B," he said.

Andrew Barclay, an economist with Statistics Canada, agrees that there are many factors driving the cost of bacon.

He also said the shut down of restaurants over the course of the pandemic has contributed to the cost increase.

"We've gone from purchasing a lot of bacon in restaurants to purchasing a lot of bacon in homes, and now we're starting to return to purchasing a lot of bacon in restaurants again," he said.

Barclay wouldn't predict what will happen with bacon prices in the future, but said there's been an increase in consumption of bacon over the past few years, which could add to the current trend. 


Gary Moore

CBC News

Gary Moore is a video journalist based in Fredericton.