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We Uncovered a Corporate Price-Gouging Conspiracy

We dug into Big Chicken's conspiracy to raise prices

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Huge corporations are colluding to raise chicken prices — up 61% over the last 15 years. But Washington state is leading a charge to fight back against Big Chicken’s monopoly. And they’re winning.

If you’ve walked into a grocery store to buy chicken over recent years, you’ve probably been faced with sticker shock.

And it’s not just you.

The numbers don’t add up

In May, 2008, the average price of a pound of chicken was $1.19.

In May, 2023, that same chicken cost $1.92. That’s a whopping 61% price increase, compared to the rate of inflation, which was about 41% over the same period.

And there’s a big secret that Big Chicken corporations don’t want you to know: they’re in on it.

Data, lawsuits, company documents and private correspondences reveal that major poultry producers in the U.S. conspired to artificially raise prices for years.

Over the past 50 years, the chicken industry has seen massive consolidation.
The concentration of the top four poultry firms in the U.S. grew from 17% in 1972 to a staggering 60% today.

The four biggest players are Tyson, Perdue, Sanderson Farms and Pilgrim’s Pride.

And as these companies have grown larger, their market reach has extended beyond just chicken.

The fight against Big Chicken

Washington is the first state to file an anti-monopoly lawsuit against major chicken producers and win.

While the settlement in Washington is a big win, the fight against corporate greed and collusion in the chicken industry still has a long road ahead.

Congress needs to stiffen our antitrust law and increase the penalties for violating our laws. We need to give the DOJ and FTC Federal Trade Commission the power to look back on past acquisitions and mergers. And if these companies are acting in bad faith, they need to be broken up and spun back out into the marketplace.

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