[30 May/Grocery Dive]

Walmart has filed an antitrust lawsuit in Arkansas federal court against Pilgrim’s Pride, Koch Foods and 28 other poultry producing companies alleging that they conspired to increase prices for broiler chickens beginning in 2008. The complaint details two ways that the companies engaged in price fixing including reducing the supply of chickens on the market and manipulating price indexes for wholesale chickens. The retailer said one of the participating companies, Fieldale Farms, has already agreed to settle claims against it for USD$2.25 million (approx. NZD$3.4 million). A number of other lawsuits since 2018 have targeted poultry producers for allegedly inflating chicken prices. None of these lawsuits have been resolved, making it difficult to know what impact they may have on the industry. Conspiratorial activity and price fixing can be incredibly difficult to prove. Costco has taken matters into its own hands, building its own chicken supply chain which is projected to save Costco 35 cents a bird adding up to USD$25 million annually (approx. NZD$38 million).