For Immediate Release
Anna Ghosh, aghosh(at)fwwatch(dot)org, 415-293-9905
How Food System Consolidation Factors into USDA’s Forecasted Food Price Increases for 2011
Statement by Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Watch
WASHINGTON - "This week's release of the USDA 2011 Consumer Price Index analysis
demonstrates that a more industrialized, consolidated food supply does
not translate to lower grocery bills for consumers. I encourage the news
media to look beyond the routine justifications of rising feed and fuel
costs and take a critical look at the role consolidation of our food
system plays in consumers' rising food bills.
"Although all food prices are expected to increase in the coming
year, inflation for beef, pork, eggs and dairy is anticipated to be
sharpest. Not coincidentally, these are the same industries that have
experienced the most consolidation over the past two decades and are
controlled by the fewest number of large agribusinesses.
"While these largest companies claim that mergers and acquisitions
allow for efficiencies of scale that create cost savings for consumers,
the reality is consumers rarely see a decrease in what they pay for
food. And, as the USDA's latest CPI indicates, consumers are about to
experience even higher prices that could increase inflation overall.
"The bottom line is clear: consumers are paying more for their food,
farmers are receiving less, and the companies in the middle are soaking
up the profits.
"The USDA has the power to restore some fairness in our food system.
The USDA should not be bullied by the agribusiness lobby standing in the
way of enforcing antitrust laws that have been on the books for almost a
century, but never enforced. It's time for the agency to finish its
proposed livestock marketing rule and put it into effect immediately
before it becomes impossible for average Americans to feed their
For more information consolidation in the meat industry and the impacts of corporate power on the food supply, visit:
Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.