Food Prices Are Still High. What Role Do Corporate Profits Play?

Corporate food companies have made record profits these last few years, and they’re hoping it stays that way.

After more than two years of cost increases, Americans are finally feeling relief at the grocery store as food inflation cooled off for the first time in March and then again in April.

But those price drops will likely only go so far. That’s largely because, over the last few years, the small handful of food corporations controlling the sector have been charging premiums for their products, blaming supply chain disruptions. They’ve raked in record profits as a result, and nothing is stopping them from continuing to do so.


“According to an analysis by the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute, corporate profits accounted for 54 percent of food price increases between 2020 and 2021. For the four decades prior, only 11 percent was attributed to corporate profits, the rest to the cost of labor.

When avian influenza recently wiped out more than 58 million birds in about a year and egg prices dramatically shot up, Cal-Maine, the largest distributor of eggs in the U.S., increased its gross profit margins five-fold. That raised questions for farmer-led advocacy group Farm Action, which penned a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in January asking the agency to investigate Cal-Maine for price gouging and collusion.”

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