Government action is anticipated by a sharp decline in food prices, the Biden-Harris Administration

Congress allies believe that in part it is the result of over-indulgence and a lack of competition in the supply chain and groceries.

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With inflation at an all-time high for almost 40 years, American families are facing high prices as they pay and are preoccupied with junk food. Considered to be important, shopkeepers now say they feel more comfortable, and are rewarded with smaller pay rises that they say leave them unable to pay for their rising food costs.

At the same time, manufacturers and wholesalers are using the epidemic to raise prices beyond what is necessary to pass on rising costs to consumers, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Has exploded in a new book sent to the heads of Kroger, Albertson's, and Publix. and shared exclusively with NBC News.

"Your company, along with other highly profitable 2020 profitable retailers, seems to be passing on costs to consumers in order to maintain your epidemic profits, and take advantage of the inflationary burden to add bigger burdens," wrote Warren.

By 2020, supermarkets saw sales increase 11 percent last year, an average of $ 63 billion a month, according to a monthly report by the Census Bureau Retail Trade. It is a practice that continued until 2021.

But instead of re-investing recorded profits to raise wages and improve working conditions, the companies began purchasing assets and increasing management compensation, the letter noted.

In June 2021, Kroger announced a $ 1 billion stock recovery plan, by the end of 2020 Albertsons $ 300 million stock recovery program, and Publix increased quarterly shares in the first nine months of 2021 by more than $ 70 million.

"Your companies had a choice: they could keep prices low for consumers and securely secure and compensate their employees, or pay high-level executives and investors," Warren wrote to the chains of the grocery chain. "It's a shame you chose not to put your customers and employees first."

Stores did not immediately respond to NBC News' request for comment.

"The current price increase is due to a combination of supply chain challenges - from staff shortages and transportation to high fuel costs and growing consumer demand," FMI, Food Industry Association, a trade association representing mainly food retailers and retailers, said in a statement. published in NBC News. "Consumers are doing everything they can to accelerate this increase, and we urge consumers to continue to work with us as we redefine the purchase of our goods."

Supply chain snarls, staff shortages, growth and fluctuations in consumer demand have highlighted production and distribution channels over the past 18 months, increasing costs for producers and retailers. But critics say they are re-creating the opportunity.

"The real challenges of rising prices in the pay line are independent actors who have made knives to supply knives that can withstand the volatility of demand," said Rakeen Mabud, executive director of policy and economist at Groundwork Collaborative, Washington. , a progressive DC-based think tank. The group has been advocating for policymakers to use their tools to intervene, such as enforcement actions, taxes, competitive investments, increasing workers' rights, and changing anti-trust laws to lower prices.

The argument is that if there was strong competition, then any retailer who tried to raise prices above the cost would lose business to cheap competitors.

The White House claims to be using what tools it has to "eradicate immorality," citing "excessive evidence" that meat processors, representatives among farmers and wholesalers, "are exorbitant prices." White House.

"The law of dishonesty provides remedies for preventing excessive focus or abuse of market power," said Bharat Ramamurti, deputy director of the National Economic Council. One thing managers can do and do is "appoint people who intend to enforce strict anti-corruption laws," he said, noting that price adjustment investigations have been conducted in similar cases in the past.

This week, President Joe Biden called for an investigation into the meat industry, which has seen a sharp rise in prices during the violence.

"I urge Congress to hold a series of debates on the collection of power in the hands of a few that control the food processing equation," he said in an interview Tuesday with local WHIO-TV in Dayton, Ohio.

Managers have already taken a number of steps to begin addressing the focus on the meat packaging industry, such as the strict enforcement of the Packers and Stockyard Act, which sets out fair competition and trading practices in the livestock, meat, and poultry markets; cattle price reporting; and providing subsidies to smaller processors to increase capacity.

Major beef analyst Cargill has denied White House claims that there was not enough competition in the market.

"It's a resource-driven market, so to suggest that there is fraud or exploitation, I do not agree with it," chief executive Dave MacLennan told Bloomberg this week.

At the end of November, the Federal Trade Commission announced a comprehensive investigation into the grocer industry, asking nine key players to provide "detailed information to help the FTC shed light on the causes of ongoing supply chain disruptions and how these disruptions create significant and ongoing difficulties.