The Huge Price Smithfield Foods Is Paying To Settle A Lawsuit

According to Vox, the price of groceries has inflated 11% since April 2021, with meat and animal-based products suffering the largest hit. This leaves shoppers, even Walmart customers, battling inflation all throughout America. Chicken has a reported inflation of 16.4%, beef and veal at 14.3%, and pork at 13.7%. Eggs have seen the highest price increase in the past year, rising 22.6%. Some companies, including Tyson Foods, have come forward to explain why prices are continuing to jump, citing reasons such as fuel and labor costs.

Though there are many ways to explain inflation, fingers are being pointed at large companies with accusations of pure greed and price gouging. While some consumers blame the meat companies directly, others blame the grocery stores, and others still blame the politicians currently in office. And, per Fast Company, the blame should fall on the Federal Reserve.

Still, one company was recently slammed with a lawsuit after being accused of conspiring to inflate pork prices — an issue many are wary about when competition is low.

A possible price gouge

Smithfield Foods, a Virginia-based company that controls more than 70% of pork production in America, just settled a lawsuit after accusations that the powerhouse conspired to inflate pork prices, according to AP News. On July 5, lawyers informed affected companies that Smithfield will be paying restaurants and caterers $42 million in the settlement. Though much of the meat industry claims rising costs are due to supply and demand, the lawsuit claims that various companies were comparing prices and information to limit the supply of hogs. Other companies currently pending in the lawsuit include Hormel, Tyson Foods, Seaboard Foods, and Triumph Foods.

Per Meat + Poultry, the court documents make it clear that the settlement is not an admission of guilt by Smithfield Foods or evidence of any wrongdoing. However, in the likely case that the meat market continues to inflate, you may decide it's time to try some delicious plant-based meals in place of your steak and ribs.