As many shoppers trade down from pricier brand-name items for generic alternatives, grocers are increasingly pushing food suppliers to lower prices.
Government data released Tuesday showed grocery prices were 11.3% higher in January than the year before, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and unfavorable weather have driven up the costs of eating at home over the past year.
Food makers and supermarket suppliers have raised prices on many of their goods to cover higher costs, which grocers have frequently passed on to consumers.
So far, many shoppers have simply paid them. Coca-Cola, for example, reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings Tuesday thanks to the higher prices it has been charging for certain beverages.
But consumers, as well as the grocery stores where they shop, are increasingly pushing back. At least two major retailers, Whole Foods and Walmart, are reported to be asking major suppliers to bring prices down. The much smaller regional grocer Hy-Vee said it and some of its peers are doing the same. (Whole Foods didn’t respond to a request for comment, and Walmart declined to comment.)
“We’re spending more time than we’ve spent in the past negotiating prices and negotiating cost increases — frankly, questioning cost increases and pushing back,” CEO Jeremy Gosch said.