The Monopoly Component of Inflation in Food Prices

Part I examines monopoly power in the food industry, paying close attention to the increased economic strength of monopolies and the economic costs caused by monopoly power. Part II details the problems resulting from monopoly power in one segment of the food industry-the meatpacking industry. Part III calls upon the Congress to undertake new antitrust initiatives to reverse the food industry’s trend toward increasing concentration. It cannot be said with certainty that food price inflation would totally disappear if the consumer loss due to monopoly were removed from the food manufacturing and retailing sectors. Doing away with these losses, however, would be the equivalent of a major reduction in unnecessary industry costs. Such a cost reduction, along with an industry restructuring aimed at workable competition, would result in substantially lower food costs.