Bacon prices got you scared? Join the club.

Bacon of the month clubs let you lock in the price for a full year of gourmet breakfast meat. It's not exactly cheap, however.

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    What commodity's price rise has hit American pocketbooks hard? Bacon.
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What commodity price rise has hit American pocketbooks hard this year:

Gasoline?

Barely a dent, up only 8 percent compared with a year ago.

Gold?

Up 25 percent, which has cheered investors but forced jewelry buyers to swallow hard. But the commodity that's packed a bigger punch is:

Bacon.

The breakfast meat is selling near record highs, because of a shortage of hogs. In November, the average retail price in the United States was 34 percent higher than a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Which is why dedicated breakfast-meat consumers might want to consider a bacon of the month club.

Sure, the clubs – there are at least four of them – offer tempting varieties like Arkansas peppered bacon (Zingerman's bacon club) and Iowa natural Kurobuta applewood bacon (Ted's bacon of the month club).

But the real benefit may be locking in the price. The 12-month packages run anywhere from $179 (about a pound a month from The Pig's Traditional Bacon Club) to $476 (two pounds per month from Bacon Freak).

Such price-protection doesn't exactly come cheap. The clubs' best deals still charge about $15 to $20 a pound. Even with all the price hikes over the past year, the store-bought variety only costs $4.70 a pound.

Still, the gourmet meat doesn't cook down as much as the store-bought stuff.

And hey, how many people can brag they belong to a bacon of the month club?

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