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The Chicago Tribune reports that “Conagra Brands, Kraft Heinz and other major packaged food companies filed a lawsuit Friday in Chicago federal court alleging that meat processors conspired to inflate the price of chicken.

“The suit names Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, Perdue Farms and more than a dozen other chicken suppliers as defendants, companies that together control about 90 percent of the $30 billion wholesale chicken market.”

The suit, according to the Tribune, is just the latest in a series of lawsuits filed by supermarkets, restaurants and farmers against the chicken companies, accusing them of conspiring to inflate prices. “The new suit alleges that the chicken suppliers coordinated to destroy their breeder hens in order to reduce the supply of chickens bred for meat and drive up prices. It also alleges they manipulated a wholesale price index,” the story says. “As a result, the suit says, wholesale chicken prices rose by nearly 50 percent and buyers were forced to overpay for chicken. The suit demands a jury trial.”

Tyson has denied the charges. ConAgra has not commented.
KC's View:
The questions here are simple. Are the CPG companies winging it? Can they provide enough evidence to get the chicken companies to make a clean breast of it?

Hard to know, but I’m guessing the a jury trial would scare the chicken folks. Almost everybody is affected by the price of chicken, and so if evidence could be shown that chicken would be more affordable if not for the machinations of some chicken suppliers, jurors might be included to hand down a big verdict, doing a lot more than clucking their disapproval. They might, in fact, want to skin the suppliers alive.