Today the New York Times spotlighted yet more data showing price hikes on working families by big food companies and restaurants have been motivated by corporate greed and not to keep up with the cost of doing business, based on their own earnings reports: “In mid-October, PepsiCo, whose prices for its drinks and chips were up 17 percent in the latest quarter from year-earlier levels, reported that its third-quarter profit grew more than 20 percent. Likewise, Coca-Cola reported profit up 14 percent from a year earlier, thanks in large part to price increases. Restaurants keep getting more expensive, too. Chipotle Mexican Grill, which said prices by the end of the year would be nearly 15 percent higher than a year earlier, reported $257.1 million in profit in the latest quarter, up nearly 26 percent from a year earlier.”
The recent earnings calls have only reinforced the familiar and unwelcome theme that corporations did not need to raise their prices so high on struggling families. The calls tell us corporations have used inflation, the pandemic and supply chain challenges as an excuse to exaggerate their own costs and then nickel and dime consumers.”
Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US
A recent Accountable.US analysis of the 10 largest food companies by market cap including companies representing food-at-home and food-away-from home categories in the Consumer Price Index found these companies have all raised prices and saw their net incomes increase by nearly $394 million in the first six months of 2022 – while they boosted their shareholder handouts by $3.8 billion. Did they need to raise prices so high? Clearly not.
An additional Accounatble.US review of recent corporate earnings calls found:
- Pepsico: During Pepsico’s Q3 2022 Earnings Call on 10/12, Vice Chairman And CFO Hugh Johnston Stated That “Obviously, We Try To Price Through Inflation And We Always Set That Out As A Goal” In Response To An Analyst Question About Balancing Profitability And Market Share Growth.
- Meanwhile, They Reported $2.7 Billion In Quarterly Net Income Compared To $2.2 Billion In The Same Period For 2021 – a staggering 21.5% Increase Year-Over-Year.
- In 2022, Pepsico Has Already Spent $4.6 Billion In Shareholder Dividends And Over $1.1 Billion In Stock Buybacks, With Plans To Spend $1.5 Billion In Buybacks By The End Of FY 2022.
- Chipotle Mexican Grill—Which Has Continued To Hike Prices On Consumers Throughout the Pandemic—Saw Its Net Sales Grow By “7.6% In The Third Quarter” amid 13% Higher Menu Prices. Chipotle also reported operating margins increasing to 15.1% from 12.3% in 2021. Meanwhile, the Company Spent Nearly $630 Million On Stock Buybacks In Its FY 2022 so far.
- McCormick: During McCormick’s Q3 Earnings Call on 10/6, McCormick Chairman And CEO Lawrence Kurzius Attributed Quarterly Growth To The “Effective Execution Of Our Strategies And Pricing Actions Against The Backdrop Of A Volatile Operating Environment.”
- Thanks to those price hikes, McCormick Reported Net Income Of $223 Million – A 5% Increase from 2021. McCormick also Reported A 3% Increase In Quarterly Sales. And they have Spent $297.5 Million In Shareholder Dividends In The First Nine Months Of FY 2022.
- Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM)—A Large Exporter Of Grain—”Saw Its Strongest Third Quarter Profit On Record,” Thanks Largely To Increased Trading Prices Of Soybeans, While Doling Out $1.8 Billion To Shareholders Through A Combination Of Stock Buybacks And Dividends In FY 2022 So Far.
Accountable.US has long-documented how blatant pandemic profiteering and corporate greed – including from the big meatpacking, shipping, retail, clothing, trucking, and railroad companies — including a recent report on how food companies have raked in record revenues, increased profits, and billions of dollars in shareholder handouts while raising prices on consumers.