Albertsons and Kroger follow suit, allege tuna price-fixing
A new crop of major U.S. grocery chains has signed on to sue the ‘Big Three’ tuna brands, alleging price fixing.
According to recent court documents filed on 8 January, Albertsons Companies, The Kroger Company and Hy-vee have become the latest retailers to bring a case against Chicken of the Sea, StarKist and Bumble Bee Foods on the grounds of a supposed price-fixing conspiracy, which may have begun in 2008 and continued until July 2015.
The lawsuit alleges that opportunities to collude arose by way of the joint advertising campaign known as “Tuna the Wonderfish,” and could have also occurred as a result of co-packing between Thai Union and Bumble Bee. Collusion could have also transpired with the companies’ participation in the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation.
Kroger operates 2,260 storefronts while Albertsons runs 2,205 stores. Hy-vee operates over 235 stores in eight U.S. states. The grocers join others retailers including Winn-Dixie Foods in suing the ‘Big Three,’ as well as the Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative, which was the first entity to present a lawsuit alleging price-fixing against the defendants.
Both Thai Union, which owns Chicken of the Sea, and Bumble Bee have confirmed receiving subpoenas from the U.S. Department of Justice.