Over in the West we tend to think we have a lot of freedom. It’s argued that we are under a fair and reasonable democracy, despite the fact that we only have the choice of several douchebag party heads who are, in Stewart Lee’s Words, “about as different as two rats fighting over a courgette in a urinal. Only one of the rats is wearing chinos.”
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Then we reckon we have the choice to buy what we want, when we want. But actually, as shown by the infographic created by Oxfam below, pretty much everything we eat and drink is controlled by just ten companies. That’s a scary thought, particularly when you consider how processed our food has become. When profit is a priority, public health goes out the window.
According to the graph below, the companies – Nestlé, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars, Associated British Foods, and Mondelez – are in charge of almost every large food and beverage brand in the world and as a result, they make billions of dollars in revenue each year. Here’s a breakdown courtesy of the Independent of each company to show you just how much money they pocket and what they produce:
2015 revenue: $13.5 billion
It’s not just Froot Loops and Frosted Flakes — Kellogg’s also owns noncereal brands including Eggo, Pringles, and Cheez-It.
Associated British Foods
2015 revenue: $16.6 billion
This company owns brands such as Dorset Cereals and Twinings tea, as well as the retailer Primark.
2015 revenue: $17.6 billion
General Mills is best known for cereals like Cheerios and Chex, but it also owns brands like Yoplait, Hamburger Helper, Haagen-Dazs, and Betty Crocker.
2015 revenue: $24.9 billion
Best known for yogurts like Activa, Yocrunch, and Oikos, Danone also sells medical nutrition products and bottled water.
2015 revenue: $29.6 billion
This snack-centric company’s brands include Oreo, Trident gum, and Sour Patch Kids.
2015 revenue: $33 billion
Mars is best known for its chocolate brands, such as M&M, but it also owns Uncle Ben’s rice, Starburst, and Orbit gum.
2015 revenue: $44.3 billion
Coca-Cola is moving beyond soda, with beverage brands including Dasani, Fuze, and Honest Tea.
2015 revenue: $59.1 billion
Unilever’s diverse list of brands includes Axe body spray, Lipton tea, Magnum ice cream, and Hellmann’s mayonnaise.
2015 revenue: $63 billion
In addition to Pepsi and other sodas, PepsiCo also owns brands such as Quaker Oatmeal, Cheetos, and Tropicana.
2015 revenue: $87 billion
Brands you may not have known that Nestlé owns include Gerber baby food, Perrier, DiGiorno, and Hot Pockets — plus, of course, candy brands including Butterfinger and KitKat.
Obviously this is just a minor insight into the breadth of food products these companies pump out. The clear issue here is that these multi-billion dollar companies don’t really give a shit about consumer health – they are just focused on getting cheap products out en masse, but at what cost? Cancer rates are rising, as is obesity, heart disease, diabetes and strokes – all of which are degenerative diseases that are linked to bad diet.
I guess there’s not a lot we can do about the companies in power aside from try to eat as much fresh produce as possible. Although I guess that’s wishful thinking – who in their right mind is going to choose a carrot over a Kit-Kat?