No matter what you love to eat, you'll be shocked when you find out about your favorite, seemingly independent food brand that's actually owned by a huge mega-corporation like PepsiCo or Kraft, according to Food and Water Watch. Do you know which of your favorite foods are big companies in disguise?
For years, Executive Director of Food and Water Watch, Wenonah Hauter, has been saying that “we can't shop our way out of the problems with our food system.” She wrote her book, Foodopoly, to show that “no amount of savvy shopping can truly fix the system — only applying our collective voices to advocacy can do that.” And this week is the release of a new report called, Grocery Goliaths: How Food Monopolies Impact Consumers to shine a light on how the grocery industry is fooling us all.
Take their new quiz to explore the truth that's lurking on your grocery store shelves.
For decades, food companies have been merging, with the industry goliaths like Nestlé, Kraft, PepsiCo, and others buying up more and more of their small (and not-so-small) competitors. These days, some of the biggest companies have a presence in almost every aisle of the supermarket, and dominate the market in many categories. For example, Kraft not only sells more macaroni and cheese than anyone else, but also makes products as diverse as pickles, nuts, salad dressing and coffee.
When you take the quiz, you'll learn that most of the choices you make when you're grocery shopping are just an illusion. While you might see dozens of brands on the shelves, most of them are owned by just a handful of companies, and often, those companies control multiple brands of the same product:
- Just four companies control 80% of all cereal sales, including brands that seem independent. Kashi and Bear Naked, for example, are both owned by Kellogg, but you'd never know it from the labels.
- Two companies you've probably never heard of sell 74% of all bagels and English muffins in the grocery store.
- 76% of yogurt is sold by three major companies, and 61% of cream cheese comes from just one company.
- 99% of sports drinks come from Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, while just four companies (including Coca-Cola) dominate the bottled tea market.
But grocery stores don't want you to know this. They want you to think you have a choice, so they can offer false deals and other psychological tricks to make you spend more money.
We need to fight this trend of consolidation in our food choices, and to do that, we need to wake people up to the reality of the situation. This affects everyone who buys food, no matter how consciously you shop. After you take the quiz, will you share it to help spread the word?
Amanda Carlucci has her finger on the pulse of the green movement. Stay up to date on the latest in green activism. You can make a difference. Be a part of the movement, and subscribe here.