Did you know that worldwide 10 corporations control almost all large food and beverage brands. That means these 10 brands control a large portion of the products that the 7.7 billion consumers in the world buys.
The Big 10 Companies
It might seem like we have a lot of variety when it comes to buying food and drink because there are more than 10 brands out there. But the issue is that these brands fall under the umbrella of one of the 10 big controlling corporations.
Marketing and advertising tricks us into feeling like we’ve got an excessive amount of choice, when really, a lot of our money still ends up in the pockets of the big 10. The image below, developed by Oxfam, shows the true ownership of the food and beverage industry.
Nestle, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Danone, General Mills, Kellog’s, Mars, Associated British Foods and Mondelez are the big 10 companies that own it all. Are you shocked by some of the brands owned by these companies? I was!
Impossible Conscious Buying
One of the main issues with having only 10 companies owning most of the food and beverage brands in the world, is that it makes shopping consciously a difficult task.
For years, many shoppers have tried to avoid companies who use palm oil such as Nestle and Mondelez. However these companies own so many brands that even when we are trying to avoid them, we might still mistakenly buy their products and feed into their billion dollar revenue.
For instance, Nestle and Wonka are the same company. Mondelez and Cadbury are also the same. And in 2015 Nestle and Mondelez made $87 and $29.6 billion respectively.
The fact is, if we stop buying their products we could make a change in the way they decide to conduct themselves. For instance in order to get customers to return to their products, brands such as Nestle and Mondelez could turn to sustainable palm oil rather than non sustainable palm oil which is destroying forests and orangutan habits around the world.
In a world of climate crisis, taking action in the ways we can, starts to make sense right?
Top Most Ethical Food Companies
According to the 12th annual World’s Most Ethical Companies report in 2018 the top most ethical food brands to make the list include Bimbo Group (Mexico), Illy (Italy), Ingredion (US), Kellogg’s (US), Mars Incorporated (US), PepsiCo (US) and Starbucks (US).
This is only a snapshot however, with a total of 135 companies spanning 23 countries and 57 industries making the cut. You can find the full list here.
Knowledge is a powerful tool that we can use to take control of where our money goes. Yes, most brands are owned by the big 10, but not all of them. Even then, some are better than others.
As consumers of the 21st century we have the ability to educate ourselves on how companies operate and choose whether or not to buy their products based on whether they align with our values i.e. eco-friendly, child labour free, sustainable, ethical, you name it.
It may seem hard sometimes to avoid big company brands, but small choices can make a big difference.