I found this chart posted on a wall in Arts Riot, a music and food venue in Burlington, and thought it was really amusing considering my FoodWorks cohort had watched the documentary Food Chains the night before. The film discusses, among many things, how the market for food is controlled by a handful of large companies. Although this chart also contains some companies that produce household products, I thought it was really interesting (and scary) to see just how much power these companies hold. It is no secret that these companies have consolidated for one reason: maximizing profit. That’s a scary truth, and looking at this chart makes me wonder if these brands really care about the quality of the products they sell and the impacts they have on consumers, or if they are just looking to continue dominating the foods market.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that these companies or the products they sell are evil (I buy Gatorade, Ben & Jerry’s, etc.), but I really do wonder where consumer well being falls on the priority list when a corporation is responsible for managing 5+ brands. Nevertheless, I think this graphic brings about an important reminder that while these big corporations are powerful, so is consumer voice. There is evidence of many corporations making changes in the ingredients that they use and the way they produce their products as a result of consumer demand. Kraft, for example, has made a pledge to remove all artificial dyes from its Mac & Cheese because people demanded a change. You have a voice, don’t hesitate to use it.