Did you know that pork prices are on the rise?
An outbreak of African swine flu is wiping out a vast number of pigs in China, the world’s largest producer and consumer of pork. In fact, reports estimate that hundreds of millions of pigs will be wiped out by the epidemic and more will be culled if they become symptomatic to prevent the disease from being passed to humans. After all, more than 128,000 Americans are hospitalized because of food poisoning each year. This epidemic has created the biggest leap in pork prices witnessed in the last 15 years. According to Bloomberg, we haven’t seen such a drastic fluctuation in the pork market since 2004 when mad cow disease and bird flu created a surge in the demand for pork.
Well, we still want pork today and the 13-month-long epidemic isn’t stopping us from buying it. The U.S. transportation industry will move more than 18 billion tons of cargo by 2040, but transporting meats might start to look a little different. Pork prices have already increased by 69% compared to a year ago in the United States alone but just about every pork-eating market is being hit by the shortage.
“It doesn’t matter where you are in the world at the moment, pork prices are up,” explains animal protein strategist Justin Sherrard. “China is the market to focus on. Firstly, because it’s big and, secondly, because this is really the first place that African swine fever started to hit.”
Reports found that Americans ate a record amount of meat last year at 222 pounds per person, but these prices might cause a sudden shift in our diets. For carnivorous families that don’t want to spend exorbitant prices on meat, pork alternatives might become a necessity. After all, one-third of Americans have poor credit, making penny-pinching a reality for many. This rings especially true if you’re trying to support a family on a budget.
But what pork alternatives are available? If you’re craving meat, try cooking up these similar options to quell your cravings:
For some people, meat is rarely considered healthy. But this lean alternative to pork is typically more affordable and can satisfy a pork craving when you use the right spices.
On the whole, chicken is typically better for you than pork anyway. While both options offer a slew of vitamins and nutrients, chicken typically has fewer calories, especially when compared to bacon. Because chicken can be seasoned with just about anything, coating it in your favorite pork spices can convince you that you’re eating something else.
Speaking of birds, you can also get your bacon fix from turkey bacon.
If you’re not on board with fake meat, you will be soon: a recent poll of Chinese survey respondents discovered that price is the primary factor behind whether or not consumers will try fake meat. If pork prices shoot up and fake meat prices become more affordable, you might be seeing a rising number of options hitting the shelves.
The fake meat in question is typically made from soy proteins. In China, proteins garnered from soy, taro, and potato products have been the best way for vegetarians to get essential nutrients that they’re missing from meat. After all, proteins are vital in supporting our hair, skin, nails, and teeth. Without the necessary nutrients, you’ll have to visit the dentist more than twice per year to get the help you need.
The Chinese have been on the plant-based bandwagon for a while. Alternative meats have found a market in China but this trend is also catching on in the United States. In fact, Burger Kind recently partnered with fake meat producer, Impossible Burger, in August. While many are able to tell the difference between the plant-based burger and real meat, there’s no doubt that the plant alternative is great in its own right.
The future of pork?
Some might wonder if pork is a sustainable product for a growing population in the first place. The United States immigrant population has surged to 78 million, more than quadrupling since 1965. In order to feed an ever-growing populace, we might have to start “pigging out” on plants.
Beef is already on its way out thanks to the advent of beef alternatives. Paired with the disastrous effects of the cattle industry on the environment, big pork might be the next industry to get replaced. In the meantime, try out a couple of pork alternatives to see if you can survive without piggy making it to the market.