California Pork Consumers See Significant Price Increases

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 25, 2024 — According to a report compiled by economists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Chief Economist (OCE), California pork prices have seen a 20% hike compared to the rest of the country following the full implementation of Proposition 12. Prop 12 restricts any pork products sold in California that don’t meet pen-size restrictions established by the voter-approved measure.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard an appeal by industry groups who warned that California consumers would pay more for pork as a result of the law. According to a USDA report, pork loin prices were hardest hit with a 41% price increase. Bacon prices rose $1.04 per pound more than the remainer of the country. The report confirmed products not governed by the law did not see a significant price increase and the long-term impact of the law is yet to be seen.

The USDA report also found that the state’s portion of national fresh pork consumption fell from 10% to below 7% the first month of full implementation. Authors of the study said they expect an even greater decrease in consumption although it is too soon to determine. 

The National Pork Producers Council has fought against California Prop. 12 since 2018, when it was put on the state's ballot for approval, arguing among other things that it would increase consumer prices for pork. Along with the American Farm Bureau Federation, NPPC challenged Prop. 12 in federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. NPPC said it continues to work with members of Congress on a solution to the problems created by the law.

Source: National Pork Producers Council, USDA