Meat-lovers are set to see the price of bacon take a sharp rise due to a viral outbreak compounding issues already facing the market, a company has warned.
Food procurement firm Beacon said an outbreak of African swine fever in China could send the price of pork and bacon soaring over the coming months
The company, based in York, said it is likely prices will continue to rise with an increased demand facing European suppliers.
It comes after the deadly viral disease began affecting hogs on farms in East Asia last year after it was first detected in China in August.
Beacon said its supplier, Bidfood, has found that throughout 2019, German and Dutch bacon suppliers have seen a huge uplift in orders from China.
There was an 18% increase in bacon pricing from February to April this year, according to Bidfood, Beacon said, and the market price of pork has risen by 38% in the last four weeks.
The company also said another of its suppliers, Brakes, suggested that 30-50% of Chinese pig farms have been affected by the outbreak, which has increased pig prices around the world.
Ben Charles, of Beacon, said: "Brexit has been a driving force behind the price of pork throughout the first quarter of 2019, but the outbreak of African swine fever has mounted pressure on the market.
"The current increased demand that faces European suppliers makes it increasingly likely that prices will continue to rise throughout the rest of the year.
"Beacon will work closely with its leading suppliers to monitor these increases to ensure that demand does not outstrip supply and to mitigate price increases as much as possible."
According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, African swine fever is a "severe viral disease affecting domestic and wild pigs", with no approved vaccine.
"Responsible for serious production and economic losses", the body said the virus is "not a risk to human health" and can be spread by live or dead pigs.