From Our President: Why We Need Competition

grocery store shelves showing a shortage of baby formula Photo: Stefania Pelfini, La Waziya Photography/Getty Images

Across the country, Americans are looking at grocery bills, watching gas prices tick up—and wincing. Skyrocketing costs for food, fuel, housing, and travel make it hard to forget inflation is the highest it has been since the 1980s.

Inflation is clearly weighing on your minds: A nationally representative CR survey of 2,076 U.S. adults this past May found that 85 percent are at least moderately concerned about higher prices, and just over half said they’re more cautious in their spending habits than they were six months ago.

The ongoing debate over the cause of our current inflation might not offer solace—but it has led to overdue recognition that competition matters to the economy and to consumers.

Take this year’s baby formula crisis. Parents scrambled to buy formula amid a shortage exacerbated by a recall and factory closure. The crisis spotlighted a troubling truth: Four companies control about 90 percent of the U.S. baby formula supply. That concentration means higher costs and more risk for consumers when recalls and shortages take even a few brands out of commission.

It’s not just one industry—from Big Tech to agriculture, broadband to healthcare, consolidation is limiting consumer choice across the economy. Taking that on is a daunting task, but there are things you can do to navigate this environment. Our cover story, “How to Save Money Now,” shows how to cut costs on everything from monthly utility charges and groceries to medical bills. But to help create a fair, competitive economy, we need a strong, consumer-powered movement to demand that change.

My upcoming book, “Buyer Aware,” shines a light on how consumers, business, and government can work together to build a marketplace that serves everyone. It includes step-by-step advice on growing your power in the marketplace. To learn more, go to buyeraware.cr.org.

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the September 2022 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.


Marta L. Tellado, PhD

As President and CEO of Consumer Reports, Marta L. Tellado leads America’s foremost consumer organization—an independent nonprofit that works with consumers to advance truth, transparency, and fairness in the marketplace.  Since joining CR in 2014, Tellado has transformed one of America’s most trusted social enterprises, uniting its rigorous research, consumer insights, award-winning journalism, and policy expertise to drive social impact. Born in Cuba and raised in New Jersey, Marta has dedicated her public service career to a range of issues, including consumer advocacy, economic fairness, and civil rights. Follow her on Twitter ( @MLTellado).