WASHINGTON, DC — As core inflation continues to cool, the latest Consumer Price Index report from the U.S. Labor Department revealed today that food prices remain a primary driver of the skyrocketing costs plaguing American families. As of October 2023, amid aggressive corporate price hikes, the price of food eaten at home had soared by 13% over the prior year, putting an increased pressure on American consumers who have been forced to skip meals to cut costs.

Corporations seem unconcerned with the devastating effect high prices have had on American families. Even as the Biden administration lowers costs for millions, stubbornly high food prices make it clear that there is more work to be done cracking down on corporate price gouging. Cutting prices and expanding affordable food options is impossible so long as corporations continue to treat American families solely as opportunities for profit.”

Liz Zelnick, Director Of Accountable.US’ Economic Security & Corporate Power Program.

Earlier this week, new reporting in Bon Appétit placed a renewed focus on the cost of food as Carrefour, a French superstore, announced they would no longer carry products made by PepsiCo in 9,000 European stores due to “unacceptable price increases.” 

Highlights from Bon Appétit:

“…Inflation may not have been to blame for all the price hikes. Liz Zelnick, director of the Economic Security and Corporate Power Program at Accountable.US, a corporate watchdog organization, argues that many corporations have used inflation to raise prices more than they need to. Pepsi execs have also publicly said that they’re not worried about higher prices driving consumers away—people keep buying their products. ‘Pepsi is not unique in this situation,’ Zelnick says. ‘Over and over again these corporate CEOs are saying the quiet part out loud in these earnings calls where they’re basically saying, ‘We’re using inflation as a cover to raise prices.’”

“‘Over the last year, inflation has come down at a record pace. Wages are higher, but profits continue to rise,’ says Zelnick, of the corporate watchdog group. ‘These corporations are in really good positions to take advantage of this environment where a lot of consumers alike have gotten used to the higher prices and so [the companies] have no incentive to lower their prices.’”

“So despite pressure in Europe for lower snack prices, it’s likely that your favorite snacks will get more expensive. I also wouldn’t count on your preferred American grocery chain going to bat for you to secure lower prices; while such grocery store boycotts have happened in Europe in the past, it’s a rarity here. Instead, your only option may be to dissolve any sense of brand loyalty you may have in favor of more wallet-friendly options. Perhaps it’s time to consider some of those off-brand chips you’ve been eyeing, because, according to Zelnick, we shouldn’t count on name brand products getting cheaper without a fight. ‘Corporations are going to continue to price gouge as long as they’re able to.’”



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