We all want to add diversity to our meals. This means searching the shelves for new products, extending our grocery lists, and trying the newest food products. We do this to boost our health, as well as ensuring we aren’t buying all of our groceries from one or two companies.
However, Oxfam International have put together a comprehensive infographic that illustrates just how little diversity there is in supermarkets. Despite the hundreds and hundreds of different brand names we see, just ten conglomerates produce the vast majority of the food we eat. So much for diversity…
The Big 10: Companies That Own Most Of Your Food
The infographic shows that Mondelez, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Associated British Foods, Mars, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg’s, and Unilever, own nearly every processed item that is readily available to buy. Whether you indulge in sweet treats, fizzy drinks, potato chips, or even just a good cup of tea, you’re almost certainly buying from these big companies.
Some of the brands that are owned by these multinationals are surprising. For example, PG tips are owned by Unilever and Pepsico is the business behind Quaker Oats. It’s a worrying sign when we don’t know who is making our food.
The reason that they hide their name behind other brand names is so that consumers don’t realize that they have a monopoly on the market. They can hide their corporate greed, which ensures that they can infiltrate more markets and crush competition from independently owned small businesses.
The biggest downside for people like you and me is that manufacturing so much food leads to overly processed and chemical-laden products. The use of preservatives, mixed with the lack of consumer-led accountability, mean that the ‘Big 10’ aren’t making food that is detrimental to our health. It’s a terrifying wake-up call considering their combined market share, but do not despair as there are simple steps you can take to avoid them.
How to avoid the big 10
The release of the infographic by Oxfam International is the first step to avoiding these faceless corporations. Take the time to study the image and make the conscious decision to avoid the brands on the list.
Although the list is comprehensive, there is no guarantee that Oxfam have successfully identified every ‘Big 10’ item in the grocery store. Bare this in mind when you are shopping and read up on the food you are buying. You should always know exactly where your food is coming from and who is responsible for producing it.
Finally, the best solution is the advice that I always give when it comes to ensuring that you are eating ethically and healthily. Where possible avoid branded foods, and even chain grocery stores. Buy your food from local independent stores and farmer’s markets. If we all did so we could stop the growing influence of the ‘Big 10’ which would force them to change their bad practices.
As Oxfam’s report states: ‘The world’s largest food and beverage companies have a lot of power – but you have more. And because they’re not using theirs enough to help poor communities or the planet, you can use yours to change the way they do business.’
Never forget, and never stop believing, that you can make a real difference.