WASHINGTON, D.C. — The CEO’s of Kroger and Albertson’s testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Anti-Trust Panel Tuesday.
The congressional hearing comes after several U.S. Senators signed a letter to the Federal Trade Commission saying the merger brings about considerable anti-trust concerns regarding the two national supermarket chains.
Kroger announced its plan to acquire Albertson’s back in October, saying the deal would boost their ability to better compete against their rivals — the Amazons and Walmarts of the world.
With food insecurity being a bipartisan issue, the companies’ executives and witnesses who testified faced tough questions about what the merger could mean for consumers.
“Don’t you think you should be asking about the people you serve,” said U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R – Missouri). “Like for instance, the ability to provide food at a reasonable cost to people who need it, the ability to actually offer a product that consumers need and want?”
Kroger’s CEO Rodney McMullen argued that, with the merger, they could invest millions of dollars to focus on lowering prices.
“By merging with Albertsons as an example,” McMullen said. “We’ll be able to have that positive impact and really further grow on what both of our companies have done individually.”
Senator Dick Durbin (D – Ill.) pushed executives to think about communities and the challenges this merger could create for more rural and inner-city areas, like whether fresh and healthy food would still be a priority, as well as cost-effective options for consumers.
The hearing lasted about two-and-a-half hours and according to Senator Amy Klobuchar (D – Minn.), the record will remain open for another week.