Ah, the bounty of the typical American grocery store!
Percent of cereal sales controlled by Kellogg, General Mills, PepsiCo and Post Foods: 79.9
Percent of cracker sales controlled by Mondelez International (formerly Kraft), Kellogg and Campbell Soup: 76.5
Percent of cookie sales controlled by Mondelez, Kellogg, Campbell Soup and McKee Foods (Little Debbie, et al): 62.5
Many firms sell multiple brands of the same product, which leads consumers to believe that they are choosing among competitors when they are actually just choosing among products made by the same firm that may have been manufactured at the same factory. Pinnacle Foods sells both Mrs. Paul’s and Van de Kamps frozen fish products. Two firms that sell a host of brands dominate margarine. Unilever sells I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!, Shedd’s Country Crock, Imperial, Promise and Brummel & Brown, and ConAgra Foods sells Blue Bonnet, Parkay and Fleishmann’s.
This is true across the board, including organic and healthful brands typically seen as independent, but that are being bought up by large food companies unbeknownst to consumers. And consumers won’t figure it out by reading the labels, which often do not reflect the corporate ownership. For example, Kashi and Bear Naked are both Kellogg brands, but Kellogg’s ownership is concealed from consumers — the Kashi and Bear Naked labels and consumer websites make them seem indepen- dent, even though Kellogg’s government filings reveal that the company owns the brands.