Walking into the grocery store, gas station, or restaurant, one is presented with a wide variety of food and beverage choices, but most don’t realize that the majority of brands can be traced back to just 10 major companies. The wide selection of flavors and recipes is nice, but there is a bit of an illusion when it comes to the companies your dollar is supporting.
Consumers are becoming more informed about healthy food choices and the business practices of large corporations, creating a more conscious marketplace and greater demand for improvement in both of those fields. As a consumer you have the power to vote with your dollar (or euro, ect…), the problem being it is not always clear which company you are ultimately voting on. This is a list of the 10 companies that have an unbelievable reach, and the brands under them that you may or may not be buying into power.
2016 sales profits: $89.5 Billion
This company owns over 3000 brands across 30 countries. Some you may be familiar with are Gerber, DiGiorno, and Nestle water. (Here is the A-Z of american products from their own website)
2016 sales profits: $62.8 Billion
Pepsi owns 22 brands, but they are all giants, these include companies like Lays, Aquafina, and Starbucks. Here is the full list from Pepsi’s own website.
2016 sales profits: $16.6 Billion (down 6% from 2015)
This 150 year old company proudly boasts “More than 100 brands. In more than 100 countries. On six continents.” Mostly known for their baking products like Betty Crocker and Bisquick, they also own vegetable companies like Green Giant.
2016 sales profits: $13.01 Billion
Kellogg owns 29 brands. I was surprised to discover Kellogg owns Morning Star and Garden burger, two vegetarian friendly companies I have eaten for awhile.
Associated British Foods
2016 sales profit (before tax): £1.042 Billion ($1.243 Billion)
Associated British foods owns 31 brands. Obviously these are much more common in Europe, some names you may recognize in the states would be Truvia and Ovaltine.
2016 sales profit: $10.1 Billion
Mondelez owns a staggering 51 different brands. Including huge names like Nabisco, Ritz, Stride, Sour patch kids, and Philadelphia.
2016 sales profits: $31 Billion
Mars owns 51 different brands from dog food to chewing gum. Some familiar companies are Iams, Juicy Fruit, M&M’s, and Combos.
2016 sales profits: $24.27 Billion
Danone owns common brands like Nurticia, Oikos, and Activia, to name a few from the 47 subsidiaries under their name.
2016 sales profits: $41.9 Billion
2016 sales profits: £5.5 Billion ($6.56 Billion)
Ben and Jerry’s, Lipton, Klondike, I cant believe it’s not butter, Axe body spray, and Dove. These are just a few of the thousands of brands provided by this financial giant in over 40 countries.
Combined profits: $296.98 Billion
Total brands owned (estimated): 4,831 different product brands
Grow your own, or buy from someone who does!
Going cold turkey from all of these brands and companies would be very difficult, don’t try to take on the beast all at once. It is true they have quite the reach, however you can substitute these products one by one, until you suddenly find yourself making a real difference.
Instead of buying your yogurt from Danone or nestle, you can take a trip to a local farmers market and purchase some from the farmer who made it himself, without additives or preservatives. You could even learn to make your own yogurt right at home!
The next time you find yourself eating green giant vegetables, remember that you have the power to produce the highest quality organic vegetables yourself. Taking a small initiative, and using a little patients, you can soon be supporting yourself with your own dollars.
So on and so forth, as information and technology become more abundant to the public, we can walk away from these monopolies and rely on our communities as well as ourselves to provide nutrition for our families.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, every little transition you make away from factory food will bring us all that much closer to a healthier, more ethical world.