Food Industry Illusion: Are You Supporting Big Food Without Even Knowing It?

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An infographic from Finances Online shows that choice in the food industry is nothing short of an illusion. Whether you choose 7Up, Dr Pepper or Schweppes, it really doesn’t matter because they’re all owned by Dr. Pepper. In fact, within various categories, just four major companies compete for a piece of the $603 billion food industry pie. Let’s take a closer look.

I love a microbrew but so many of the beers that we think are from small brewers are not. In all, 86 percent of beer comes from four big firms. The two largest are MillerCoors and AB InBev (which owns Budweiser). Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, and Leffe are all owned by AB InBev and Mickey’s, Blue Moon, and Peroni are owned by MillerCoors.

Not surprisingly, 91 percent of soft drinks in the food industry are produced by Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, or Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. Coffee is little more surprising–64 percent of coffee produced is made by Kraft Foods, JM Smucker Co., Starbucks Coffee Co., or Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Did you know that JM Smucker Co. owns Folgers, Dunkin Donuts, and Millstone? It’s no wonder they all taste the same.

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Want a tortilla chip? You’re very likely supporting PepsiCo even if you never drink soda because they own Doritos, Tostitos, Santitas, and Sabritas.

It’s not that you can’t support small food businesses, it’s just that it’s a little more work than it once was. If you’re supporting a brand and you’re not sure who owns it, a quick online search can provide the help you need. Buying locally and supporting small health food stores is another step in the right direction. It’s about being informed and this infographic will get you started.

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Image: USDA