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Bacon prices got you scared? Join the club.

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Photo illustration/Bildagentur Waldhäusl/picture-alliance/Newscom

(Read caption) 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?

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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).

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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?