Trump's Tariffs Could Explain Why Fast Food Has So Much Bacon Right Now

McDonald’s “Bacon Hour” and all of Wendy’s free Baconators coincide with the lowest pork prices in a decade.

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Feb 20 2019, 7:00pm

Photo: Mike Kemp/Getty Images

For a single crispy, smoky, greasy hour last month, McDonald’s made America’s bacon-covered dreams possible with the Bacon Hour promotion. A McFlurry swirled with a strip of bacon, a cheesy Filet o’ Bacon and Fish, a bacon-loaded Big Mac: all of them could be yours. A few days later, McDonald's brought back Bacon Cheese Fries, too.

Then, because late capitalist America would be nothing without brands beefing online, Wendy’s quickly upped the ante. The chain gave away free Baconator burgers on DoorDash and free Baconator fries on the Wendy's app, and, of course, fired off a few salty tweets.

Fast food is pushing bacon pretty hard right now. No complaints, or surprise, there—basically everyone who eats meat loves bacon, and won’t argue with putting it on top of things that are already pretty damn tasty. According to Business Insider, however, the bacon boom might have a political push.

Because of Trump’s trade war, pork prices are the lowest they’ve been in the past decade, making it prime time for pork-themed promotions, Business Insider suggested. Tariffs levied by China and Mexico on American products have cut into pork exports, and now, prices are falling in order to move the meat supply domestically. It would make sense for fast food chains to try to use those low prices to pull in customers, Business Insider wrote.

While that might make sense, both McDonald’s and Wendy’s told Business Insider that the new bacon promotions were not, directly, a response to current pork prices. A spokesperson for Wendy’s told them that marketing isn’t based on “short term changes in commodity prices,” and a representative of McDonald’s said that the menu is influenced by changes in consumer preference.

Even if McDonald’s and Wendy’s didn’t cop to Business Insider’s suggestion, fast food chains are an obvious solution for pawning off foods that are high in supply. America has a huge excess of cheese, for example (about 1.4 billion pounds as of last month), and marketing groups try to get as much cheese as possible into fast food products to make a dent in that backlog. Pushing more bacon on the people is a smart move because, for a lot of people, it’s pretty much irresistible: Recent numbers from the National Pork Board show that over half of all homes have bacon “on hand at all times.”

If the fast food promotions aren’t enough to satiate your bacon cravings—or if you, like the avid commenters of r/fastfood, think McDonald’s bacon blows—remember that we live in a world of bacon ice cream; bacon-scented candles and cologne; bacon-flavored vodka; and because everything is hell, bacon, maple bacon, and even chocolate bacon vape juice.