When people think about this year’s food industry trends, they may envision app-based grocery delivery services, the Keto diet, and restaurants that serve all locally-sourced ingredients.
But inside federal courthouses across the country, the Department of Justice and civil plaintiffs have been highlighting a darker trend within the food business: price fixing.
Under United States antitrust law, price fixing is defined as an agreement among competitors that raises, lowers, or stabilizes prices or competitive terms. The U.S. antitrust laws require that each company establish prices on its own without agreeing with a competitor on a price to charge consumers. The driving force behind our antitrust laws is simple: when competitors agree to restrict competition and inhibit a free market, it results in higher prices. And an agreement to restrict production, sales, or output of a product or service is just as illegal as direct price fixing because reducing the supply of a product or service drives up its price.