The 10 Giant Corporations Behind Your Favorite Brands

In food as in fashion and cars, everything is owned by something else
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The 10 Giant Corporations Behind Your Favorite Brands

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It’s nice to think that every food brand out there is independently owned, churning out their product in a mom-and-pop style operation like the Keebler elves in their hollowed-out tree, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, the majority of food products that you’ll find in the supermarket are owned by a much larger conglomerate, and heck, even the Keebler elves are owned by parent company Kellogg. 

The Coca-Cola Company

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The Coca-Cola company had revenues of $46.8 billion in 2013, and employs 130,600 people worldwide. Brands they own include Barq’s, Dannon, Dasani, Dr. Pepper (in Europe), Evian, Fanta, Fresca, Vitamin Water, Hi-C, Honest Tea, Illy, Minute Maid, Monster, Powerade, Schweppes, Sprite, and Zico. 

General Mills

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Minneapolis-based General Mills had revenues of $18 billion in 2014, and employs 43,000, putting it on the lower end of the megacorporation spectrum. However, it stills owns many well-known brands (more than 90), including Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Wheaties, Haagen-Dazs (internationally), Green Giant, Old El Paso, Annie’s, Totino’s, Chex Mix, Fruit by the Foot, Progresso, Green Giant, and Yoplait. 

Heinz

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Heinz was recently acquired by Kraft, and if the merger goes through it’ll create the fifth-largest food company in the world. But the company (which brought in $11.6 billion in revenue in 2012) can still certainly hold its own, with brands under its umbrella including Bagel Bites, Classico, Lea & Perrins, Ore-Ida, and, of course, all Heinz products. 

Kellogg

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The Battle Creek, Michigan-based Kellogg Company had 2013 revenues of $15 billion, with more than 30,000 employees. Their brands include Eggo, Jif, Pop-Tarts, Nutri-Grain, Pringles, and, of course, the many Kellogg’s cereals, which include Corn Flakes, Froot Loops, Frosted Mini-Wheats, Frosted Flakes, and Rice Krispies. 

Kraft Foods Group

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Kraft Foods Group was created in 2012 along with Mondelēz; both were spinoffs of Kraft Foods Inc. Kraft is focused on grocery products, while Mondelēz concentrates primarily on international distribution. Kraft’s 2013 revenue was $18.2 billion, and they employ 23,000. Kraft’s brands include A-1, Grey Poupon, Planters, Capri Sun, Jell-O, Maxwell House, Oscar Mayer, Polly-O, Velveeta, Kool-Aid, and Boca Burger. 

Mars

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Mars, Inc. is the sixth-largest privately-held company in the United States, and is the only one on our list that isn’t publicly owned. Its 2014 revenue was $33 billion, and it has more than 75,000 employees. Mars’ products include candies like 3 Musketeers, Dove, M&M’s, Milky Way, Snickers, and Twix, and it also owns Wrigley, with products including Altoids, Big Red, Doublemint, Bubble Tape, Extra, Juicy Fruit, Life Savers, Orbit, Skittles, Starburst, and Winterfresh. Other brands owned by Mars include pet foods Cesar, Nutro, Pedigree, Sheba, and Whiskas, as well as Uncle Ben’s and Kudos. 

Mondelēz

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Mondelēz, a Kraft spinoff, had an operating income of nearly $4 billion in 2013. While many of its brands are only available in international markets, its brands that are available in the United States include Cadbury, Chips Ahoy, Dentyne, Halls, Honey Maid, Nabisco, Nutter Butter, Philadelphia, Oreo, Ritz, Trident, Triscuit, and Wheat Thins. 

Nestlé

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Based in Switzerland, Nestlé employs nearly 340,000 and had revenues of a whopping $91.6 billion in 2014. It owns an insane 8,000 brands, and also sells some well-known American products, like Cheerios, internationally. In the United States, its holdings include coffee (Nescafé, Nespresso, and Taster’s Choice), water and other drinks (Poland Spring, Deer Park, Carnation, Boost, and Coffee-Mate), ice cream (Dreyer’s, Edy’s, Häagen-Dazs, Skinny Cow), baby food (Gerber), frozen food (Stouffer’s, Lean Cuisine, Hot Pockets, DiGiorno), and sweets (Toll House, Butterfinger, Raisinets, Smarties, Wonka candies, and, of course, all Nestlé-brand candies). 

PepsiCo

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PepsiCo is the world’s largest snack food company, with 2013 revenues of $66.4 billion and 274,000 employees globally. PepiCo owns 22 billion-dollar brands, many of which fall under the secondary umbrella of another company it owns, Frito-Lay. Those brands include Lay’s, Mountain Dew, Gatorade, Tropicana, 7-Up, Doritos, Quaker, Cheetos, Ruffles, Tostitos, Aquafina, Brisk, Sierra Mist, Fritos, and Starbucks Ready-to-Drink Beverages. Other brands PepsiCo owns include Sabra, Naked Juice, and Stacy’s Pita Chips.

Unilever

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Unilever is the world’s third-largest consumer goods company, with 2014 revenues of $54.2 billion and 172,000 employees worldwide. They own plenty of non-food brands (including Axe, Dove soap, Suave, and Q-Tips), but they also own plenty of huge food brands. They’re the world’s largest ice cream manufacturer (ice cream companies include Ben & Jerry’s, Popsicle, Klondike, and Breyers), and other food brands owned by Unilever include Best Foods, Country Crock, Hellmann’s, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, Knorr, Maille and Colman’s mustard, and Lipton tea.