Infographic: Four Companies Control Most of the Food You Buy

Why freedom of choice at the supermarket is just an illusion.

Infographic via

Infographic via Finances Online

There isn’t freedom of choice at the supermarket. What? you say. That’s not possible. There’s, like, thousands of different things to buy—including, like, 100 different kinds of cereal. But, really, four or fewer companies dominate the grocery store.

A 2013 study by the U.S. consumer rights group Food and Water Watch found that, on average, supermarket monopolies control 63.3% of the sales of 100 types of groceries, including beer, peanut butter, and ice cream. So not only does Kraft own cheese, but also coffee, fruit drinks, mayonnaise, and sour cream. And in 32 of these 100 categories, four or less control at least 75% of all sales.

Companies also own “multiple brands of the same product,” the report says, slap them with a different label, and trick consumers into thinking they’re buying an independent brand. This is true for supposedly healthier and organic products, too.

It seems that consumers are helpless at the hands of these “Grocery Goliaths.” This is especially disturbing after you learn that, between 2010 and 2012, “grocery food prices rose twice as quickly as average wages.” So, how do you gain back your freedom? For starters, try shopping at the farmers market.

And since infographics make most everything easier to understand, here’s one by Finances Online, which illustrates how the big companies own the food industry.

big food companies

Source: finances online | Alex Hillsberg | See our Twitter

[via Finances Online, Food & Water Watch]

RELATED: A Beginner’s Guide to Navigating the Farmers Market

  • Greta Garbo

    this is a great story, very valuable information, but the title is misleading and philosophically unsound – you have a choice over what you eat and drink you just dont have a lot of choice about what companies your dollars support – You cant say potato chips and pepsi are the same thing because they are owned by the same company, that logic is just wrong. I thought this was going to be an article about the similarities in foods from diff. brands. Not the similarity of brands from diff foods.

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