Skip to main content

Common Dreams. Journalism funded by people, not corporations.

There has never been—and never will be—an advertisement on our site except for this one: without readers like you supporting our work, we wouldn't exist.

No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news and opinion 365 days a year that is freely available to all and funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

Our mission is clear. Our model is simple. If you can, please support our Fall Campaign today.

Support Our Work -- No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. Please support our Fall Campaign today.

People shopping in the egg and dairy case on March 13, 2020 at Whole Foods Merket in Vauxhall, New Jersey. (Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

People shopping in the egg and dairy case on March 13, 2020 at Whole Foods Market in Vauxhall, New Jersey. (Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Corporate Greed the 'Real Culprit Behind Rising Prices,' Researchers Say

"The more sway mega-corporations have over our economy, the more power they have to gouge customers, squeeze Main Street, and exploit workers."

Kenny Stancil

Amid mounting data showing that people are paying more for food at grocery stores around the United States, a new analysis out Wednesday reveals how corporate power is "the real culprit behind rising prices at the checkout line."

"Addressing this crisis means recognizing these price increases for what they are: the result of deeply entrenched concentrated corporate power."

After the U.S. Labor Department announced that the Consumer Price Index increased by 0.4% in September, researchers at the Groundwork Collaborative, a progressive think tank, explained the connections between "price hikes, monopoly, and corporate greed."

"The more sway mega-corporations have over our economy, the more power they have to gouge customers, squeeze Main Street, and exploit workers," Rakeen Mabud, chief economist at the Groundwork Collaborative, said in a statement.

Since September 2020, food prices overall have increased by 4.6%, with the price of meats, poultry, fish, and eggs surging the most over the past 12 months, at 10.5%

The higher inflation rate in those industries, researchers noted, can be attributed to decades of consolidation, which has given a handful of corporations an ever-greater degree of market control and with it, the power to set prices.

According to the Groundwork Collaborative:

Just four meat processing conglomerates control more than 80% of the beef industry and more than 60% of the pork industry. This enables them to dictate prices that both flatten returns for farmers and ranchers and inflate prices for consumers at the meat counter. As a result, consumers have seen a 12% increase in the cost of beef and a nearly 10% increase in the cost of pork over the last year. Meanwhile, the four major meat processors doled out billions of dollars to their shareholders in dividends and bought back millions of dollars of their own stocks.

The price of eggs, meanwhile, has risen 9.9% since August 2020.

"State governments, including MinnesotaTexasCalifornia, and New York have sued egg producers and distributors for illegally raising the price of eggs during the pandemic," the Groundwork Collaborative pointed out. "As one lawsuit put it, jacking up egg prices is allowing these companies, including some of the largest producers and wholesale distributors of eggs, to 'profit from the misery of millions.'"

The Groundwork Collaborative also spotlighted how Kroger grocery stores have charged customers more and simultaneously suppressed wages amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Researchers explained:

Kroger, a grocery mega-chain, spent the summer of 2021 gloating that "a little bit of inflation is always good in our business" before citing inflation to justify price hikes. Kroger publicly acknowledged that they could get away with increasing prices on consumers as long as prices didn't rise by more than 3 or 4%.

Charging consumers more for supermarket staples has lined the pockets of Kroger executives and shareholders, even as median worker pay decreased by 8% in 2020. That same year, the Kroger CEO earned 909 times what the median worker earned

While the company was publicly calling their workers heroes, they were simultaneously cutting essential hazard pay for employees during a global pandemic. Meanwhile, the company spent $1.498 billion on stock buybacks between April 2020 and July 2021 to enrich its shareholders.

"Addressing this crisis," said Mabud, "means recognizing these price increases for what they are: the result of deeply entrenched concentrated corporate power that has systematically stripped down supply chains and created room for pandemic profiteers as well as longstanding underinvestment in our economy."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'The Facebook Papers' Spur More Calls to 'Break Them Up!'

Other critics are demanding a "full, independent, outside investigation" of the tech titan as whistleblower Frances Haugen testifies to the U.K. Parliament.

Jessica Corbett ·


Critics See Menendez Villainy Equal to Sinema's on Medicare Drug Pricing Fight

"It's discouraging to see Sen. Menendez is on the wrong side of this fight rather than leading the charge for more affordable, accessible healthcare for all."

Brett Wilkins ·


Humanity 'Way Off Track': WMO Says Atmospheric Carbon at Level Unseen in 3 Million Years

The new report has "a stark, scientific message for climate change negotiators at COP 26," said the head of the World Meteorological Organization.

Andrea Germanos ·


Any Lawmaker Involved in Planning Jan. 6 Insurrection 'Must Be Expelled,' Says AOC

Organizers of the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol say that several congressional Republicans and White House officials helped plan former President Donald Trump's coup attempt.

Kenny Stancil ·


Profits Before People: 'The Facebook Papers' Expose Tech Giant Greed

"This industry is rotten at its core," said one critic, "and the clearest proof of that is what it's doing to our children."

Jon Queally ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo