Casey: Food producers driving, profiting off of increased food prices

Grocery Store

A person walks past the meal aisle inside a grocery store on November 14, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By Sean Kitchen

November 21, 2023

The holiday season is underway across the country and food producers are raising food prices and stuffing their pockets with corporate profits according to a report released by US Sen. Bob Casey. 

With the holiday season about to begin in the US, US Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) followed up on his recent “greedflation” report by calling out America’s largest food producers for raising the prices of their products faster than the pace of inflation and reaping record profits.

Corporate-driven inflation and price gouging cost the average Pennsylvania family an extra $3,194 in 2021 and $3,546 in 2022, and now they are getting ready to fork over more money for their favorite holiday meals.

“It has, quite literally, gotten harder for working Americans to bring home the bacon,” the report said, describing the rising costs of food prices.

According to the report, the price of chicken, pork, and potatoes are rising faster than ever and outpacing inflation increases.

The cost of chicken is up 38% since 2020 even though inflation is up 19% during that same time. The cost of pork chops are up 28% and bacon is up 29% since 2020, while the cost of potatoes are up 60% since last year.

“As Pennsylvania families prepare for the holidays, they’re seeing higher prices on everything from chicken to pork to potatoes,” Casey said in a statement.

“These higher prices are the result of greedflation—big food and agriculture businesses are gobbling up Pennsylvanians’ paychecks simply because they can. I’m taking steps to fight back so we can make corporations pay their fair share and put more money in the pockets of working families.”

Casey’s report blames the country’s largest food producers for driving up the costs of your favorite holiday meals.

For instance, it accuses chicken producers of restricting supply to drive up prices when demand is at an all-time high and businesses of inflating their prices and profits by eliminating competition or coordinating with competitors to raise prices.

In 2021, Cargill Inc and Continental Grain Company purchased Sanderson Farms Inc., the third largest chicken producer in the country, and merged with Continental, creating a new business, Wayne Farms. This consolidation, according to Forbes “pushed the market share of the top four competitors to more than 60% from about 50%.”

The chicken industry isn’t the only industry profiting off of rising prices. The pork industry has consolidated to four companies controlling 67% of pork production in 2019, and the industry is cutting production at a time when demand is soaring.

The report states that the pork industry has a history of illegally inflating prices and has faced some consequences for price-fixing. In 2021 and 2022, the pork producer JBS settled price-fixing lawsuits for $20 million and $13 million, while Smithfield paid two different groups of consumers $83 million and $42 million in 2021 and 2022.


  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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