Grim Truth About Food Monopolies: Ten Companies Own A Frightening Number Of Food And Beverage Brands

The Illusion of Choice in Consumer Brands

Who Owns Your Food: Alarming Graphic Shows Just How Consolidated Corporate Ownership Of Food Brands Has Become

Most people don’t realize it but the board game Monopoly was created as a slam against the capitalist class and a call for economic and social justice. According to the patent application from 1904, inventor Lizzie Magie sought to offer a “…practical demonstration of the present system of land-grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences.”

And the protest was not without good reason: monopolies are a scary thing. From the oil barons of the turn of the last century, to an attempt to corner the silver market, to the barren landscape of cable television companies today when a small cabal owns access to a commodity, it can ratchet up prices, it can ignore customer complaints, and it can ultimately cut off your access to that commodity, should it decide to.


That’s why consumers should take a good, hard look at this amazing graphic making the rounds that lays out in grim detail just how centralized and monopolized the ownership of our food products is today.

We all know that Pepsi and Nestlé own lots of products, but may prove surprising to many readers is the amazing diversity of products these companies hold. For instance, everyone expects a company like Pepsi to own a lot of soft drinks–their flagship brand of course, as well as Mountain Dew and Mug Root Beer.

But they also own a huge slice of the snack food market, manufacturing Cheetos, Rold Gold pretzels, Ruffles chips, Sun Chips, Doritos, Lay’s, Fritos and many more.

And when it comes to beverages, you can hardly reach for a random product in the grocery stores beverage aisle without picking a Pepsico product. In addition to their soda brands, they also own giant juice manufacturers Tropicana and Ocean Spray, for starters. For athletes and teens looking for a caffeine boost they’ve got Gatorade and Amp energy drink.

And those healthy, hipster sodas or tea beverages your Brooklyn wannabe friends buy like Izze and Sobe? Also owned by Pepsico. You can’t even get away from them when it comes to water, as they own bottled water giant Aquafina.

Nestlé is also another brand to be a bit concerned with. It owns no less than 29 brands that each have annual sales of over $1 billion, including of course chocolate products, but also those ubiquitous Nespresso machines, DiGiorno pizzas, Stouffer frozen foods, and Gerber baby food.

They also own not one but two brands of upscale bottled water Perrier and San Pellegrino water, and have been in the news a lot lately due to their attempts to buy up municipalities’ water supplies to feed their Arrowhead bottled water business.

All told the chart (full-size here) makes a good case for raising and buying your own natural, organic foods, doesn’t it?

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