Roach Danish rindless back rasher twinpacks in Safeway at £1.49 for 400g, while in Denmark the pig price moves up to nearly 92p per kilo, within 5p of the British average ­ there are puzzling contradictions in bacon. Bacon and ham production in Britain was 14% lower last month than a year earlier and down 25% from January 1999. However, retrenchment in processing and an aversion to stockholding are helping ensure the scarcity does not inflate prices up the chain. Since January British pig values have slipped below the EU average. There are now signs of the market strengthening after several weeks of softening against the EU trend. But industry consensus seems to be of both pigmeat and live pig prices on the continent outpacing the British markets through the spring. Yet how can the extra pressure be absorbed in the wholesale trade here? Prudent stock management may have conserved cash and tightened breakeven margins, but it still implies the recent waves of Danish and Dutch first-hand price increases will be passed on. That in turn begs questions about the multiples' obsession with bogofs. {{M/E MEAT }}