Have you ever wandered down the junk food aisles in a supermarket and felt overwhelmed by the options? Are you a brand-loyal consumer who will pay extra for something you really like? Do you pass over cheaper options or brands with which you’re not familiar?
As it is, you might be overthinking things because most of the snack food brands actually belong to only 10 major corporations, appropriately dubbed the “Big 10” by Oxfam International. This company, dedicated to fighting poverty, developed a comprehensive infographic that shows how this handful of companies has monopolized beverages and foods.
This graphic shows that Associated British Foods, Coca-Cola, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars, Mondelez International (formerly Kraft Foods), Nestle, PepsiCo and Unilever own pretty much any processed food and non-alcoholic beverage you could ever buy. What about other well-known brands such as Wrigley, Wonka, Quaker and Cadbury? These are owned by Mars, Nestle, PepsiCo and Mondelez, respectively.
What does this mean? For example, many people consider themselves either Coca-Cola or Pepsi drinkers and take pride in this brand loyalty. However, when a Pepsi supporter reaches for a different beverage such as Fanta, Sprite, or Mello Yello to change things up, he’s supporting the Coca-Cola brand because the aforementioned are all made by the competitor. If you love to chow down on some Fritos, Doritos or Cheetos while enjoying a Coke, you’re supporting PepsiCo because it has cornered the market on most chips.
While these seem relatable enough, you’ll also find some unlikely ties between brands one would not associate with another. For example, General Mills is well-known for its cereals, but it also manufactures Yoplait yogurts and Häagen-Dazs ice cream products. King Vitamin cereal is made by PepsiCo, and Tombstone pizzas come to you courtesy of Nestle, the maker of candy bars such as Butterfinger.
While consumers are led to believe that they’re living in a land of bounty with many options, they’re really just contributing to lining the pockets of a select few. These massive corporations have the power to make it nearly impossible for small businesses and startups to compete. They’re experts at squashing entrepreneurial diversity and have the financial means to do so.
If you don’t want to contribute to this phenomenon, you could always opt for buying less processed foods. This seems impractical with today’s lifestyle, but your body might thank you for that in the long run. Additionally, you can help by buying products from local farmers markets and help popularize this trend.