WASHINGTON, DC – New earnings data released today by Hormel Foods reveals that the company hit record sales of $3 billion in its first quarter of 2022 — a 24% increase from last year — and its earnings climbed 11% to $309 million after hiking prices on consumers. The food giant’s massive profits reaffirm ongoing research from Accountable.US exposing how major companies in the food industry are using the pandemic as an excuse to increase their wealth and line their shareholders’ pockets at the expense of working families.
In its earnings data, Hormel—which planned on hiking prices not once, but twice, in 2021—touted “its fifth consecutive quarter of record net sales” and $132 million in first quarter shareholder dividends. The company is doing so well that it completed a $3.35 billion acquisition of Kraft Heinz’s Planters peanuts — the largest acquisition in the company’s history. CEO Jim Snee even admitted today that this acquisition was a “catalyst for earnings growth.”
It’s hard to see the necessity in Hormel Foods’ plan to inflate prices more than once last year considering the record sales that followed and their ability to acquire yet another major food maker. It appears Hormel is among the many companies using the pandemic as cover to dig deeper in the pockets of consumers – not to keep up with production costs, but to fatten up profit margins. The big food manufacturers are among the many industries making obscene profits during the economic recovery that have chosen to act greedy rather than keep prices stable for everyday Americans.”
Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US
SEE MORE EXAMPLES OF PANDEMIC PROFITEERING IN OUR GROCERY STORES:
- After Mondolez — whose brands include Oreo, Ritz, Wheat Thins, and Triscuits — saw its gross profit increase by over $800 million in 2021, the company still jacked up prices by up to 7% in January 2022 and is leaving the door open to raising them again despite spending nearly $4 billion on stock buybacks and dividends in 2021.
- In December 2021, Kroger‘s Chairman and CEO said the company was “in a position of strength“ as the grocery chain reported a third quarter operating profit of $868 million and spent $297 million on quarterly stock buybacks just months after it said it was “‘passing along higher cost to the customer.'”
- Shortly after General Mills announced price hikes of up to 20% on hundreds of items in November 2021, the company reported an $800 million quarterly operating profit, which may have helped pay for the nearly $1 billion spent on shareholder dividends and stock buybacks in just the first half of its 2022 fiscal year.
- In January 2022, Albertsons Companies—owner of several major grocery chains, including Safeway— still chose to hike prices on consumers despite “better-than-expected results,” with its quarterly net income increasing 243% year-over year.