We know the ten “people” that run the world, that 25 cities represent over half the world’s GDP, and that the world’s billionaires control a stunning $33 trillion in net worth… but who controls what the average joe-sixpack on Main Street buys? As PolicyMic notes, these ten mega corporations control the output of almost everything we buy – from household products to pet food and from jeans to jello. The so-called “Illusion of Choice,” that these corporations (and their nepotistic inter-relationships) create is remarkable…
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(Note: The chart shows a mix of networks. Parent companies may own, own shares of, or may simply partner with their branch networks. For example, Coca-Cola does not own Monster, but distributes the energy drink. Another note: We are not sure how up-to-date the chart is. For example, it has not been updated to reflect P&G’s sale of Pringles to Kellogg’s in February.)
Here are just a few examples: Yum Brands owns KFC and Taco Bell. The company was a spin-off of Pepsi. All Yum Brands restaurants sell only Pepsi products because of a special partnership with the soda-maker.
$84 billion-company Proctor & Gamble — the largest advertiser in the U.S. — is paired with a number of diverse brands that produce everything from medicine to toothpaste to high-end fashion. All tallied, P&G reportedly serves a whopping 4.8 billion people around the world through this network.
$200 billion-corporation Nestle — famous for chocolate, but which is the biggest food company in the world — owns nearly 8,000 different brands worldwide, and takes stake in or is partnered with a swath of others. Included in this network is shampoo company L’Oreal, baby food giant Gerber, clothing brand Diesel, and pet food makers Purina and Friskies.
Unilever, of soap fame, reportedly serves 2 billion people around the world, controlling a network that produces everything from Q-tips to Skippy peanut butter.