10 Companies That Control Just about Everything You Eat

It might surprise you that the majority of items in American supermarkets are owned by about 10 companies.

10 food companies and the myriad brands they own. (Oxfam)
10 food companies and the myriad brands they own. (Oxfam)

In today's increasingly corporate world, we all have certain brand allegiances. They (sad but true) make us who we are in today's America. But it might surprise you that the majority of items in American supermarkets are owned by about 10 companies according to a graphic made by the British charity Oxfam


  • Coca Cola owns more than 500 drink brands, including Dasani, Sprite, and Minute Maid juices. About 1.9 billion Coca Cola branded drinks are served across the globe on any given day. (They also own the sometimes-still-available Surge, which had amazingly bad ads!)
  • In second place in the soda wars is PepsiCo, which owns Gatorade and Lays potato chips (including Doritos, Cheetos, and Ruffles). PepsiCo also claims Quaker Oats and Tropicana fruit juices, meaning that they have a deciding stake in most of the orange juice sold in the U.S. And in a cunning/shrewd display of corporate synergy, PepsiCo even owns and markets the Starbucks drinks available outside of Starbucks stores. 
  • Nestlé makes Gerber baby food, high-brow fizzy water Perrier, low-brow frozen pizza pockets Hot Pockets, and close to a dozen different kinds of bottled water. They even own beauty companies L'Oreal and Maybelline. Just think of the cross-promotion, Nestlé! Maybe Hot Pockets are born with it!
  • Mondelez made about $25.9 billion in snacks last year. You helped contribute to that if you bought Sour Patch Kids, Oreos, Trident Gum, Nilla Wafers, Triscuits, Toblerone, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Wheat Thins, and just about every chocolate sold in Great Britain (they own all of Cadbury). 
  • Think Kellogg's just makes cornflakes? Think again. They make over 30 other major cereals (including my beloved Raisin Bran) and also own Pringles, Eggo, and Pop Tart. 
  • Danone is best known for yogurt (Activia, Oikos, and their namesake Dannon), but they also produce Evian and a dozen other water brands. They also own seven brands dedicated to medical nutrition should you ever find yourself in a hospital.   
  • Unilever owns a vast wide-ranging catalog of brands including Lipton tea, Vaseline, and Q-Tips. They own Axe body spray as well as Dove soap and several laundry detergent brands (convenient if you happen to spray too much Axe body spray on in the club). They are also the single biggest ice cream producer in the world with Magnum, Klondike, and even Ben 'n Jerry's under their belt. 
  • Mars owns not only their eponymous Mars bars but also Orbit gum, Altoids, Twix, Snickers, and over 2 dozen popular pet products like Greenies, Whiskas, and Pedigree. They also own about 900 veterinary hospitals across the U.S. 
  • General Mills not only owns 25 separate cereals (including Cheerios, which itself has about a dozen different variants), but it also owns Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Totinos Pizza Rolls, and 51% of Yoplait yogurts. It also owns Red Lobster and Oliver Garden. They even own Parker Bros., the makers of Monopoly. Which seems quite fitting.
  • Associated British Foods might not be the most visible brand to American audiences but it owns several aisles of the grocery stores abroad. They own Ryvita Biscuits, Twinings Tea, and control the export of massive American brands such as Tabasco hot sauce and Skippy peanut butter; they even lay claim in many parts of the world to the Weber grills brand . In America, their biggest brand is Fleischmann’s Yeast.
  • --

    Live on Monday: Does the US need one billion people?

    What would happen if you tripled the US population? Matthew Yglesias and moderator Charles Duhigg explore the idea on Big Think Live.

    Big Think LIVE

    Is immigration key to bolstering the American economy? Could having one billion Americans secure the US's position as the global superpower?

    Keep reading Show less

    The "singleton hypothesis" predicts the future of humanity

    Philosopher Nick Bostrom's "singleton hypothesis" predicts the future of human societies.

    Politics & Current Affairs
    • Nick Bostrom's "singleton hypothesis" says that intelligent life on Earth will eventually form a "singleton".
    • The "singleton" could be a single government or an artificial intelligence that runs everything.
    • Whether the singleton will be positive or negative depends on numerous factors and is not certain.
    Keep reading Show less

    Earth alienation: Hannah Arendt on outer space

    This space expansionist ideology marked the beginning of what Arendt called "earth alienation."

    Photo by Niketh Vellanki on Unsplash
    Technology & Innovation

    On Wednesday 30th May, billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX company launched its first human passengers into orbit from Florida's Kennedy Space Center, opening a door to the commercialization of space.

    Keep reading Show less

    Landau Genius Scale ranking of the smartest physicists ever

    How Nobel Prize winner physicist Lev Landau ranked the best physics minds of his generation.

    5th International Scientific Congress of Solvay L to r, 3rd row: A.Piccard, E.Henriot, P.Ehrenfest, E.Herzen, T.de Donder,T. Schrodinger, E.Verschaffelt, W.Pauli,, W.Heisenberg, R.H.Fowler, L.Brillouin, 2nd row: .Debye, M.Knudsen, W.L.Bragg, H.A.Kramers, P.A.MDirac, A.H.Compton, L.deBroglie, M.Born, N.Bohr, 1st row: I.Langmuir, M.Planck, Mrs.Curie, H.A.Lorentz, A. Einstein, P.Langevin, C.E.Guye, C.TR.Wilson, O.W.Richardson.

    Photo by: Photo12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
    Surprising Science
  • Nobel-Prize-winning Soviet physicist Lev Landau used a scale to rank the best physicists of the 20th century.
  • The physicist based it on their level of contribution to science.
  • The scale was logarithmic, with each level being 10 times more valuable.
  • Keep reading Show less
    Surprising Science

    Universe works like a cosmological neural network, argues new paper

    Controversial physics theory says reality around us behaves like a computer neural network.

    Scroll down to load more…
    Quantcast