THE BLOG
05/25/2014 01:59 pm ET Updated Jul 24, 2014

The Companies That Produce 90 Percent of Our Food

Quick, what do Hot Pockets and Alpo have in common? It's probably not what you're thinking. Hot Pockets and Alpo are just two popular brands owned by giant parent company Nestlè. Yes, that Nestlè, the company that makes your favorite crunch bar and your go-to chocolate milk. Additionally, Nestlè produces Gerber baby food and even has their hands in a few luxury brands like Ralph Lauren and Armani.

Click Here to see All 10 Companies That Produce 90 Percent of Our Food

It's hard to believe, but most of the food in your home along with your cleaning supplies, over-the-counter medicines, and even your soap are produced by just 10 mega-corporations that own virtually every nationally available brand.

So is it a bad thing that no matter whether you chose Ruffles or Cheetos, you're still choosing the Pepsico Corporation? Not necessarily. Having industry giants proven savvy at production does assure some measure of quality control across a brand; KFC tastes the same in Houston as it does in Honolulu because Pepsi owns that company as well and has pretty rigorous standards for consistency.

However, putting most of America's brand power in the hands of just 10 corporations gets a little stickier when you stop to consider the fact that a handful billion dollar corporations controlling this many products are often able to abuse worker rights and the environment relatively consequence free because there isn't much competition.

Oxfam's first Behind the Brands Report, which tracks the top 10 companies' progress across seven areas (workers, women, climate change, land, farmers, water, and transparency), was pretty bleak. It revealed that most of the top 10 food production companies paid unfair wages, were involved in land grabs, and showed little concern for the environment, with the worst company earning a score of just 19 out of 100.

But things are looking up! According to the latest report, many companies are making changes to bolster their reputations. Coca-Cola has implemented a zero tolerance for land grabs stance, and Nestle has created a forthcoming plan to end unfair practices for female farmers. It's not a complete 180 on corporations' parts, in fact, Oxfam terms this gradual progress a "race to the middle", but it is a step in the right direction.

So who owns what, and how, exactly, is your ice cream related to your soap? Click through the slideshow for some sometimes downright baffling connections between brands.

  • 1 General Mills Produces Your Taco Shells and Your German Ice Cream
    Oddly enough, General Mills owns both Old El Paso, that Thursday taco night staple, and Häagen-Dazs, that Saturday night alone on the couch provision.
    Click Here to see More of the Companies That Produce 90 Percent of Our Food
    Photo Credit: itemmaster.com
  • 2 Johnson & Johnson Makes Everything In Your Medicine Cabinet And Your Sugar Substitute
    In addition to having our stomach issues covered with brands like Rolaid, Pepsid, and Imodium, Johnson & Johnson also makes Splenda, aka that stuff your mother has convinced herself tastes exactly like sugar.
    Photo Credit: itemmaster.com
  • 3 Mars Makes Your Candy, Rice, and Cat Food
    In addition to M&Ms, Snickers, and Twix, Mars controls Uncle Ben’s rice, Whiskas, and Pedigree. Let’s hope the brands never get their wares confused.
    Photo Credit: itemmaster.com
    Click Here to see More of the Companies That Produce 90 Percent of Our Food
  • 4 Unilever Makes All Your Soap And Most Of Your Ice Cream
    Unilever is the company that keeps us clean, producing Dove, AXE, St. Ives, Lever 2000, and Suave. But they also control Popsicle, Breyers, Klondike, Good Humor, and Ben & Jerry’s. Again, let’s hope they never have a mix-up at the packaging plant.
    Photo Credit: itemmaster.com
  • 5 Kellogg Makes Your Breakfast And Basically Nothing Else
    Thank you, Kellogg, for keeping it simple. Whether you’re into Frosted Flakes, Corn Flakes, Muslix, or Raisin Bran, Kellogg has you covered. You can pop an Eggo in the toaster and grab a Nutri Grain for later content in the knowledge that brown, grain based foods is all Kellogg’s does.
    Click Here to see More of the Companies That Produce 90 Percent of Our Food
    Photo Credit: itemmaster.com

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-- Emily Alford, The Daily Meal

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