We have become a nation of Homer Simpsons, if an article from the Wall Street Journal is to be believed. Behold:
A national craving for bacon is pushing U.S. pork-belly prices to record highs.
Prices for the part of a hog used to make bacon have risen around 80% this year, while frozen reserves are at a six-decade low. Americans bought around 14% more bacon at stores in 2016 than in 2013, according to market-research firm Nielsen.
A commodities economist told the paper, "The consumer has simply woken up to the joy of having bacon on more and more things."
Good to know we made it back from that possible global bacon shortage (so far).
The NY Times noticed how the fatty cut was entering the fine dining scene in 2003:
Apparently, connoisseurship of fat, long a competitive sport among chefs and food enthusiasts, has finally trickled down to the culinary cognoscenti. Americans have always had a national weakness for pork at breakfast time, but if you prefer your bacon crisp and your sausages cooked through, you don't belong to this new club. This unctuous pleasure is reserved for those who enjoy the velvety limpness of prosciutto, the soft shreds of a country ham. A taste for pure pork fat, long restricted to a furtive devouring of the white nubbin in the can of baked beans, can now be worn as a badge of honor.
Back in 2004, David Chang introduced his now famous pork buns, where thick pieces of juicy, fatty pork belly are the star. Eater's Greg Morabito wrote, "[The dish] also inspired countless imitators across the country, even entire restaurants devoted to buns in the very specific David Chang style. Pork buns are now a part of our modern American restaurant vernacular, and it's all because of this dish."
And Pork belly trends prevail in “foodie” states with hot culinary scenes: New York is home to 23% of restaurants with pork belly on the menu, followed by California (16%) and Illinois (10%). But even though 23% of pork belly menu items are in New York, only 2% of restaurants in New York serve it. Niche indeed! As previously mentioned, pork belly trends are popular in Asian cuisine. According to Food Genius, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Thai restaurants represent a combined total of 29% of all pork belly dishes in the US. But the biggest market for pork belly is American cuisine, which accounts for 35% of all pork belly dishes.
The NY Times, in a 2015 trend article, called avocado toast "the pork belly of the 2010s."
Now there are restaurants dedicated 100% to bacon as well as maple bacon on a stick at Landhaus. Arby's head of product development hailed pork belly, "We call it the bigger, badder bacon. This could be the next chapter in America’s love affair with bacon."
Anyway, apparently bacon is totally different in Britain.