I have actually been aware of this for a long time. It kind of scares me that only 10 companies own all the world’s food brands. I mean I really would like to think that I am some kind of savvy shopper and that I spend my money wisely. That I am not supporting large multi-nationals! Um. Yes I am.
Just when you think there’s no end to the diversity of junk food lining supermarket aisles, a disturbingly detailed infographic comes along to set us all straight. Out of the hundreds of products at our disposal, only ten major corporations manufacture the bulk of what we toss in our shopping carts.
“So whether you’re looking to stock up on anything from orange soda to latte-flavored potato chips, Mondelez, Kraft, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, PepsiCo, P&G, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg’s, and Unilever own just about everything you could hope to buy. It seems that six degrees of separation theory has been proven after all, if only because we all drink Diet Coke every now and then.”
In order to visually elucidate that point, Oxfam International created a comprehensive infographic that reveals the extensive reach of the “Big 10” food and beverage companies. Unlikely ties between brands we largely don’t associate with one another show how easy it is to be misinformed about the American food system. For example, PepsiCo produces Quaker granola bars, and Nestlé makes Kit Kat bars but also frozen California Pizza Kitchen pies. To the surprise of many, Pineapple Fanta isn’t sourced straight from the mythical Fanta Islands, but canned right alongside Barq’s root beer at the Coca-Cola factory.
Some of the brands that are owned by these multinationals are surprising. For example, PG tips are owned by Unilever and Pepsico is the business behind Quaker Oats. It’s a worrying sign when we don’t know who is making our food.
Of course the vast majority of shoppers may not care. But maybe YOU do.
The reason that they hide their name behind other brand names is so that consumers don’t realize that they have a monopoly on the market. They can hide their corporate greed, which ensures that they can infiltrate more markets and crush competition from independently owned small businesses.
Obviously, the horrors extend far beyond our own shattered daydreams. Massive corporations hinder, if not squash, entrepreneurial diversity and make it nearly impossible for startups and small businesses to compete. According to Oxfam’s report, “The world’s largest food and beverage companies have a lot of power – but you have more. And because they’re not using theirs enough to help poor communities or the planet, you can use yours to change the way they do business.”
If you’re looking to avoid contributing to the Big 10 world takeover, try shopping at local farmers’ markets and maybe skip out on soda and highly processed foods altogether. Your body will thank you for it in the long run anyway.
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Image via Oxfam
“Change The Code. Change Your Life.”