Chocolate Titans in fresh Antitrust Lawsuit for Alleged US Price Fixing

from The Associated Wholesale Grocer (AWG), a retailer-owned cooperative that supplies retail member stores, brought the action in the District Court in Kansas through law firm Stueve Siegel Hanson LPP. Hershey et al. are already defendants in an on-going class action law suit in Pennsylvania Federal Court, which consolidates around 80 separate cases alleging price fixing. AWG alleges that Hershey, Nestle, Mars and Cadbury worked together to artificially rise the price of chocolate on three occasions between 2002 and 2008 as growth slowed in the US chocolate market. AWG added that the companies must have acted together because if they had not they would each of faced negative market percussions if they raised prices and their competitors did not. The companies, which account for around 76% of the US chocolate market, contend that the price increases were introduced in response to rising raw materials and supply chain costs. AWG alleges that prices for cocoa, which makes up around 25% of input costs for the companies, and sugar, which accounts for 16%, were stable during the period

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