As readers know, I love to collect reasons for the sharp increase in food prices that has occurred this year. Here’s a new one: price fixing. Although you might not know it from looking at the similar prices of food products in the same category, price fixing is illegal. Federal prosecutors are apparently looking into price collusion in the tomato industry (according to the Associated Press) and egg industry (Wall Street Journal). Who knew?
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With perfect timing for the romantic occasion, federal investigators are looking into the possibility that Big Food is fixing chocolate prices, and in three different countries yet. The allegations? “Top executives at Hershey Co., Mars, and Nestle [no relation] met secretly in coffee shops, restaurants and conventions to set prices.” Although, as I discussed in Food Politics, it seems obvious from supermarket prices that such things must go on all the time, price-fixing is illegal. Happy Valentine’s Day!