The proposed grocery merger will be the largest of all time. It will likely raise grocery prices, undermine competition, and lower worker wages.
March 14, 2023 — The two largest grocery chains in the United States, Kroger and Albertsons, announced their plans to merge in October 2022. This mega-deal would be the largest grocery merger in history and immediately raises serious questions of potential violations of federal antitrust laws. Kroger and Albertsons together would control a significant share of the American grocery market, concentrating more than $200 billion worth of annual grocery sales and nearly 5,000 stores into the hands of one corporation. If their proposed merger succeeds, their newly formed company, along with corporate giant Walmart, would control more than 70% of the market in 167 different cities, and in some local markets, more than 90%.
Past supermarket mergers in concentrated markets have resulted in price hikes for consumers, making the most important of basic necessities – food – less affordable for most families.
Parents should know that there are already important legal steps being taken on the federal and state levels to investigate and possibly prevent the merger. The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights held a special hearing questioning the Kroger and Albertsons CEOs for potential antitrust violations, and the Federal Trade Commission has already issued two requests for information from Kroger on its $24.6 billion deal to acquire Albertsons. Kroger had initially planned for the merger to start in early 2024, but federal regulators have the power to block the merger by enforcing antitrust laws.
On top of the FTC investigation, in February 2023 a group of grocery consumers in California filed a federal antitrust lawsuit to block the merger. The suit argues that the merger will result in higher prices, lost jobs, and reduced competition. Attorney generals in several states are also showing heightened concern about the merger – Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser has already embarked upon a listening tour of potentially impacted communities to investigate the possibility of increased food insecurity.
Food and grocery prices have already skyrocketed as CEOs use ‘inflation’ to justify price hikes, while earning record profits and maximizing shareholder payouts. Experts predict that the Kroger-Albertsons merger would lead to further price increases, in addition to undermining competition, eliminating jobs, all while increasing payouts for wealthy shareholders.
ParentsTogether is issuing this warning to alert families of this harmful merger. Over 13,000 parents signed a petition demanding that the Federal Trade Commission complete a thorough investigation and ultimately block the merger to prevent a grocery monopoly and protect the wellbeing of economically strapped families.