Today, Farm Action submitted a statement for the record to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights ahead of today’s hearing on the proposed merger between grocery chains Kroger and Albertsons. The hearing was called by Subcommittee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Ranking Member Mike Lee (R-UT) after “serious concerns” about Kroger’s intention to purchase leading competitor Albertsons.
Farm Action’s statement asserted that under no conditions should the merger be allowed to proceed, due to the manifold catastrophic effects it would have on farmers, workers, consumers, and our food system.
“A combined Kroger-Albertsons will drive independent farmers out of business, make it harder for new producers to enter food markets, reduce access to healthy food by creating more food deserts, increase prices for consumers, and lead to worse conditions for some of our country’s most exploited workers,” Farm Action’s statement said.
Not only would the merger consolidate unprecedented amounts of control over the United States’ dwindling number of retail grocery stores, Farm Action’s statement pointed out, but Kroger and Albertsons are also both vertically integrated, with significant facilities in milk and dairy processing. This means the merger would threaten what little competition is left in the dairy industry.
“Kroger-Albertsons processing would have enormous reach and market power, and it is likely that more processors would fold in the face of the milk processing giant this merger would create,” the statement said.
Farm Action’s statement said that this proposed merger would “grant the new company a huge level of buyer power to set take-it-or-leave-it prices for independent milk producers.” Dairy farmers would have fewer places to sell their milk, and Kroger-Albertsons would have untold power to command lower prices. As a result, independent producers would inevitably be forced out of business.
In closing, Farm Action’s statement commended the subcommittee for holding today’s hearing and urged them to “encourage our nation’s antitrust enforcers” to stop the merger between Kroger and Albertsons.
Media Contact: Dee Laninga, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-450-0094