In case you haven’t noticed, we’re living in a world that’s increasingly the domain of a handful of massive companies. And this definitely holds true for the foods we eat and the beverages we drink. In fact, nearly all the packaged foods and drinks we buy are produced by just 10 companies.
Just about every industry on earth is run by an increasingly small number of increasingly large companies. From air travel to retail, from cars to banks, thanks to strategic mergers and acquisitions (and a tireless commitment to creating value for shareholders), bigger companies are gobbling up smaller ones at breakneck speed. This isn’t anything new (and thankfully, monopolies — when an industry is controlled by just one company — are regulated by antitrust law), but even fiercely independent companies can find themselves “selling out” when a global powerhouse comes along and makes them an offer they can’t refuse.
That’s not to say that every product on the supermarket shelf is owned by a global conglomerate (especially if it’s a healthy food store or specialty foods shop), but you might be surprised by how many popular brands are in fact subsidiaries of much larger companies. Representatives of these companies attend trade shows and are constantly being pitched by upstart food brands that are hoping for a big buyout and national distribution, and many small-time food products have hit the bigtime this way, a lot more than you probably realize. So read on to learn which 10 food companies are the biggest, as well as a sampling of the popular brands they own.