"Kraft-Heinz Again Raises Prices On Dozens
Of Products As Inflation Continues To Bite"
by Tyler Durden
"As some on Wall Street warn that the Fed remains dangerously behind the inflation curve (a fear that was given voice yesterday when Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's comments on inflation during the post-FOMC press conference appeared to send stocks spiraling lower), one of America's biggest makers of food and consumer goods has warned that more price hikes are coming.
To wit, Kraft-Heinz (in which Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway owns a big stake) said in a letter to customers that it will raise prices in March on dozens of its most popular products. The hikes will affect brands including Oscar Mayer cold cuts, hot dogs, sausages, bacon, Velveeta cheese, Maxwell House coffee, TGIF frozen chicken wings, Kool-Aid and Capri Sun, CNN reported. Increases range from 6.6% on 12oz packs of Velveeta to a whopping 30% hike on a package of Oscar-Mayer turkey bacon. Most cold cuts and beef hot dogs will go up around 10% and coffee around 5%. Some Kool-Aid and Capri Sun drink packs will increase by about 20%.
"As we enter 2022, inflation continues to dramatically impact the economy," Kraft Heinz said in a letter dated January 24 to at least one of its wholesale customers that was viewed by CNN Business. The wholesaler shared the letter on the condition of anonymity to protect the company's relationship with its suppliers.
Kraft Heinz is just the latest consumer manufacturer to announce plans to boost prices early in the year. Last week, P&G said that it would raise prices on Tide and Gain laundry detergents, Downy fabric softener and Bounce dryer sheets by an average of about 8% in February. Conagra, which makes such brands as Slim Jim, Marie Callender's and Birds Eye, has said it plans to raise prices later this year.
The question now is how much of these price hikes will retailers pass on to customers? Given the thin margins that grocery stores operate on, it's likely that most, if not all, of the hike will be incorporated into prices on the shelf. For Kraft-Heinz, this isn't the first time prices have been raised since the start of the latest "transitory" inflation wave. The brand just announced a 9% price hike on its beef, lean beef, hot dogs and some other products back in November.
Headline consumer prices surged 7% in December according to the most recent CPI data release, which was the strongest level in nearly 40 years. Food prices alone rose 0.5% MoM. Beyond the US, global food prices have soared to levels unseen in a decade led by surging demand for wheat and dairy products following a year of severe drought and other environmental factors limiting production.
The question now is how many more times will K-H and its competitors hike prices before inflationary pressures finally ease?"