These 11 Companies Control Everything You Buy

Is freedom of choice an illusion? There’s a perception that we, as consumers, have unlimited choices in the products we buy. Let’s say, for example, that you want to buy bottled water. There are the budget brands like Deer Park and Ozarka, and then there are the higher-end options like Perrier or S. Pellegrino. Guess what? They’re all owned by the same company: Nestle. It might come as a shock to learn that a mere 11 companies control just about everything we buy. Those companies are Kellogg’s, General Mills, Kraft-Heinz, Mondelez International (Cadbury, Chips Ahoy, Nabisco, Oreo), Mars, Coca-Cola, Unilever (Ben & Jerry’s, Klondike, Vaseline), Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Johnson & Johnson, and Nestle. Consumer goods brands aren’t the only ones controlled by major companies. There are a number of industries where major conglomerates own various brands, from media and movie studios to high-end beauty and luxury fashion. So, do American consumers really have freedom of choice? With 11 billion-dollar companies controlling over 400 major brands, we may not have that many choices, but we certainly have the illusion of them.
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