Shopper Rebellion Against Higher Prices Helps Slow Inflation

After pushing prices to new heights last year, some companies are starting to pull back. It could be another sign that inflation is starting to turn a corner.

Conagra Brands Inc., which makes Hunt’s ketchup and Slim Jim meat sticks, raised prices 17% in its latest quarter, on top of two previous quarters, when it increased prices more than 10%.

The company said it is done boosting prices for now. Conagra’s sales volumes fell 8.4% for the quarter ended Nov. 27, which the company attributed in part to shoppers recoiling from the price increases.

Restaurant chain Hurricane Grill & Wings is trying a different means to the same end. Rather than lower prices to bump sales, it now sells a bucket-and-a-half of chicken wings for the same price as a bucket. The bonanza reflects the falling price of chicken wings, which surged last year, said Andy Wiederhorn, chief executive of franchising company Fat Brands Inc. Hurricane Grill & Wings is among its brands.

Executives at Constellation Brands Inc., which sells Corona beer, say they plan smaller price increases after higher-than-usual increases in October slowed sales growth.

Many companies raised their prices substantially last year to offset higher fuel costs and higher prices for ingredients, parts and labor. As fuel prices have dropped and pandemic supply-chain snarls have eased, some of those costs have come down.

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