The nation’s top five grocery companies

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May 2024 - Top five grocery companies | Winner

Walmart, Kroger, Costco, Ahold (brands include Food Lion, Stop & Shop, Hannover and Giant) and Publix all played a role in 2024’s inflation story.

Nowhere is the belt tightening felt more than at the grocery store. The blame has often and publicly been placed on a stressed supply chain, as it was in this from a recent Washington Post article on food prices: “The run-up in food costs began early in the pandemic, when supply-chain snarls and worker shortages collided with rampant demand for groceries.”

At least as much to blame – and probably more — is grocery chain price-gouging, profit-taking and underwriting stock-buybacks, at least according to those who follow the financial antics of the top 5.

Note this from investigative non-profit Accountable.US: “Walmart reported $16.3 billion in FY 2024 earnings, up 44% from FY 2023 earnings. (A) Consumer Price Index report revealed that cooling inflation was stilted by stubbornly high food prices. 

Walmart, the largest supermarket available to American families, has added to the problem by dramatically raising prices on their Great Value brand in recent years.”

The message was repeated recently in Inc. magazine. It found that “Though a steady retreat from rampant inflation remains one of the main themes of generally positive economic news heading into 2024, manufacturers are catching heat for continuing to boost profits under the cover of generally rising costs.” 

Consider this award a bit more of that heat.

Of course, the fact that there are fewer and fewer grocery stores competing for shoppers’ attention may also help keep prices high. Just these five companies control over 60 percent of the market. Maybe that’s why the government should and has objected to yet another merger!

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