A call to end agribusiness mergers, why food insecurity is so prevalent among grocery store workers, and Jollibee gearing up for the IPO

PPoultry farmer Trina McClendon was three years into her 15-year contract with Sanderson Farms, the third-largest U.S. poultry processor, when she was offered a new take-it-or-leave-it deal that would slash revenue by a third from his farm.

It wasn’t just McClendon’s 350-acre farm. All of Sanderson’s Mississippi growers were asked to agree to a deep cut, which would result in the loss of tens of thousands apiece.

The surprise came two days after another big reveal. Sanderson Farms had just announced that it would be acquired for $4.5 billion. The deep pockets behind the deal: A joint venture backed by grain traders Cargill, the largest privately held company in the United States, and Continental Grain, which owns poultry processor Wayne Farms.

This acquisition is now being reviewed by federal antitrust regulators because it would create further consolidation in an already reeling industry. The four major poultry processors currently control over 54% of the market; this agreement would mean that more than 50% falls on the three main companies alone.

“Send a clear and concise message to Sanderson Farms, Cargill and Continental Grain that consolidating our food industry is damaging,” McClendon told lawmakers during a House antitrust debate. roundtable on Wednesday.

The hearing, which I previewed to you last week, focused on the link between price increases, profits and consolidation in the food industry. At the end of his testimony, McClendon asked three things: Stop merging, apply existing antitrust laws and temporarily suspend all agribusiness mergers.

I’m not going to bet on the latter, but I appreciate a bold request.

This is my Reporter’s Notebook Edition for this week. I’ll leave you with a comment from subcommittee chair David Cicilline (D–RI), who called me after the hearing to discuss rising food prices, which have already been impacted by inflation, climate change and supply chain issues: food prices have skyrocketed. We have a responsibility to find out why this is happening. To the extent that corporate greed and pandemic profits are part of it, we want to make sure it stops. »

— Chloé Sorvino, editor

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What’s up

US probes link between Big Meat and inflation. Unprecedented consolidation in the US food industry could be a cause of rising prices and empty grocery shelves. The White House, backed by independent economic analysts, has claimed there is a link between inflation and fewer food suppliers. The House of Representatives antitrust subcommittee, chaired by Democrat David Cicilline of Rhode Island, looked into the matter on Wednesday.

Why is food insecurity so prevalent in the food industry? The food industry still has to address the food insecurity, poverty and precariousness that are so prevalent among grocery workers, writes Errol Schweizer.

DoubleDragon and Jollibee Grow Their Warehouse Portfolio by $482M Pre-IPO as Ecommerce Booms. CentralHub Industrial Centers – a joint venture between DoubleDragon Corp. from real estate magnate Edgar Sia and billionaire Tony Tan Caktiong’s Jollibee Foods – is accelerating construction of warehouses across the Philippines to meet growing demand from e-commerce businesses, reports Jonathan Burgos.

Cherry Garcia ice cream royalties are for sale. The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to earn a portion of the royalties from the original rock and roll Cherry Garcia ice cream flavor will quickly disappear, reports Hudson Lindenberger.

Most independent restaurants saw sales drop more than 50% in December. A new survey from the Independent Restaurant Coalition shows nearly 50% of businesses without federal subsidies have been forced to lay off staff due to COVID-19-related closures or lack of sales, and 42% are at risk. to file or have filed for bankruptcy, writes Alicia Kelso.

Some days burrata and ripe figs are all I crave.

Chloe Sorvino leads food and agriculture coverage as a staff writer on Forbes’ corporate team. Her nearly eight years of reporting at Forbes have taken her to In-N-Out Burger’s secretive test kitchen, to drought-ravaged farms in California’s Central Valley, to burned-out national forests logged by a timber billionaire, to a century-old slaughterhouse in Omaha, and even a chocolate croissant factory designed like a medieval castle in northern France. His book about the fight for the future of meat will be released by Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books in September 2022.

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