With the abundance of food we have access to today, most people tend to forget about those responsible for filling our plates. Whether it’s at your local grocery store or a restaurant, there is always an entire team behind the production and sale of your food. Here are more of the Top 10 Companies That Control The World’s Food Supply (Part 2).
In a society with a growing interest in plant-based diets, Kelloggs fits right in. In fact, it was the first plant-based food company to make it big and offer a plethora of delicious and hearty products. Though Kelloggs climbed to the top of the food chain, it all began with an unfortunate accident. In 1894, the company’s founder, W.K. Kellogg, and his brother Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, experimented with different types of cereals. After a series of trials and errors, they ended up with flaked corn: the iconic recipe for Corn Flakes. This simple creation wound up changing breakfast forever. It was only a few years later that Kellogg opened the “Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company” and built his empire from the ground up; from 44 employees to more than 30,000 today. The brand started spreading in more countries, gaining an important following, and in 1923, it became the first company in the food industry to hire a dietician. Today, Kelloggs’ net sales come to around $13.77 billion and they market products in more than 180 countries worldwide. They are now a crucial player in the global snack business and are constantly competing with other companies to stay on top. With products like Rice Krispies, Mini-Wheats and Frosted Flakes, Kelloggs has managed to become the world’s leading cereal company and the second-largest maker of cookies.
9. The Coca-Cola Company
Obviously, we couldn’t make a list of the top companies that control the world’s food supply without talking about the giant Coca-Cola. The Coca-Cola Company is easily one of the most valuable brands in the world and has become somewhat of an icon in the majority of countries. It all began on the streets of downtown Atlanta, Georgia, when Dr. John Pemberton sold the first glass of Coca-Cola at Jacobs’ Pharmacy. The drink, which we all know and love today – minus a few key ingredients – quickly became popular. Syrup-making plants which produced Coca-Cola started to pop up in many states as well as Canada by the 1900s. Nowadays, the multinational beverage corporation makes average annual revenue of over 37 billion, sells over 3,500 beverage types, and owns more than 500 brands. But, out of everything the company offers, it’s the classic Coca-Cola that takes the crown for the most decorated product and the most popular soft drink in the world. Want to know another great thing about the Coca-Cola Company? Well, it scores high when it comes to many social issues, such as promoting equality for women working in production and supporting female empowerment. In 2007, it even joined the Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights and has been nicely rated for its management practices – something we can’t always say about other high-profile companies.
8. General Mills
Another cereal-focused company that plays a huge role in the food supply is General Mills. While, General Mills is best-known for its delicious Cheerios, Lucky Charms, and Chex, it also owns some of America’s best-known brands, including Betty Crocker, Green Giant, and Pillsbury. It was in 1866 that a man named Cadwallader (cad-wall-addur) Washburn laid the foundation to this now multinational manufacturer. He began by building a $100,000 flour mill on the Mississippi river. It slowly grew over the years, despite Charles Pillsbury operating another flour mill on the opposite riverbank. Both companies were successful but decided to join forces in 2001 when General Mills acquired Pillsbury. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, General Mills has a yearly revenue of over $17 billion and sells food in more than 100 countries. It also has 80 offices located throughout the United States to ensure smooth business. A few years back, however, General Mills had the lowest scores in awareness and policies regarding climate change. Thankfully, that has changed today! Their sustainability mission includes leading the charge on regenerative agriculture, helping to establish the Ecosystem Service Market Consortium, as well as advocating for climate change policies. General Mills is in constant competition with Kelloggs for the title of the biggest vendor in the country, and they are both leading a fierce fight.
7. Mars Inc
Mars Inc. is one of the very few giant food companies to be privately owned and they’re also one of the biggest. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Mars Inc. specializes in confectionery, food, pet care, beverages, health food, and operates in more than 80 countries, with over 125,0000 employees. With an impressive revenue of $35 billion, it’s no wonder it keeps on growing every single day. Mars Inc. was founded in 1911 by Frank C. Mars in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen, making and selling buttercream candy. In the 1920s, his son joined him, and the company kept on expanding. Today, Mars Inc. operates into the business of Petcare – they’re a leading provider of high-quality and therapeutic health products for pets. There’s the food division of Mars Wrigley – which includes a bunch of classic treats like M&Ms, Skittles, and Snickers – and now there’s Mars Edge – the newest segment, built to help improve human health. In order to stay one of the world’s most successful companies, Mars Inc had to better its response to climate change and adapt the way it does business. For instance, they replaced plastic packaging with eco-friendly materials, advanced global research on critical food safety challenges, and even rethought where and how they buy their raw materials. This family-owned business has now made the Mars family the second wealthiest in the world, with an estimated wealth of $120 billion.
6. Groupe Danone
It’s now time to go to the international scene with Danone. Groupe Danone has one heck of a global presence; it is among the world’s largest sellers of fresh dairy products, early life nutrition products and bottled water. With a will to promote healthy eating, Isaac Carasso launched the yogurt company in 1919 in Barcelona. Ten years later, his son Daniel Carasso opened the Société Parisienne du Yoghourt Danone in Paris — and the French absolutely loved the stuff. First sold in ceramic jars in pharmacies, Danone’s yogurt quickly spread. After crossing the pond and living the American dream, there was no stopping Groupe Danone from flourishing. The company is now known for its long line of dairy products like Actimel, Danimals, and Yocrunch, but the most notable one has to be their Activia brand. As for the bottled water business, they own brands like Evian, Aqua, Volvic, Aptamil, and Badoit. Their dairy products account for more than half of their total revenue, while nearly 20% come from their lines of water bottles. The multinational corporation has reported net sales of 25.3 billion EUR, and the numbers increase every year. Danone has also been central in the movement towards plant-based food consumption in the last few years. In 2018, it joined Hain Celestial and other plant-based food companies and created the Plant-Based Foods of Canada, which is meant to advance the interests of plant-based foods in the country.
5. Unilever Group
Even though most of its revenues come from food, this powerful company specializes in many different spheres. From personal care to home care products, Unilever does it all. According to their website, Unilever was founded with a sense of purpose, and this unique heritage shapes the way the company operates today. Unilever has a somewhat very complicated and extensive past, but the most important thing to know is that it all started in the United Kingdom. Headquartered in London, England, the company has a revenue of around 50.72 billion EUR and operates in 190 countries. On average, about 2.5 billion people use Unilever products every day, as the company sells products under more than 1,000 brand names worldwide. Unilever’s greatest hits in terms of food products include Lipton tea, Magnum ice cream, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, as well as Hellmann’s mayonnaise. The corporation also takes it upon itself to act responsibly when it comes to climate action. They have an ambitious plan to get to zero emissions by 2039, and to do so they’re transitioning to renewable energy across all their operations, finding new low-carbon ingredients and expanding their plant-based product range. By making it easier for people to make sustainable choices, Unilever is right on track!
Contrary to popular belief, PepsiCo is much more than a mere soft drink: it’s a whole corporation! In fact, PepsiCo is the second-largest food and beverage company in the world – how’s that for a soft drink? In addition to owning some of the most famous soda brands such as Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and Gatorade, the company also owns big brands such as Quaker Oatmeal, Cheetos, Doritos, and Tropicana, for a total of 22 beloved brands sold in over 200 countries and territories. Each brand generates over $1 billion in estimated annual retail sales. In 2020, the company had a global net revenue of about $70.37 billion. Pepsico’s origin dates back to the late 1800s when founder Caleb Bradham decided to develop a cola recipe to rival Coca-Cola. Then in 1965, the name PepsiCo was adopted when Pepsi-Cola and Frito Lay merged to create “a marriage made in heaven.” The joined companies gave birth to a successful and respected worldwide corporation that keeps on thriving. As of recently, PepsiCo decided to focus on improving the nutritional and health value of its products to respond to the growing demand for healthier options for consumers. It publicly announced its intention to cut down sugar and saturated fat in its food and beverages, without losing any of the taste.
3. Tyson Foods
So far, we’ve talked a lot about large companies trying to shift to plant-based alternatives. Well, with this next company, it’s all about the meat. Tyson Foods is the largest meat producer and exporter in the United States and one of the largest in the world. With over 120 processing plants – most of them in the US – Tyson Foods distributes its products in over 130 countries – everything from chicken, beef, pork, and processed foods. The Arkansas-based company began its journey during the Great Depression in 1931, when John W. Tyson moved his family to Springdale, looking for new opportunities. He started delivering chickens to large markets in the Midwest. As food rationing became an everyday reality during WWII, the demand for poultry grew immensely, which led to important growth and expansion, and well, gave us the giant company we know today. In 2019, Tyson Foods earned $42.4 billion and has now over 140,000 employees working at its facilities and plants worldwide. Obviously, the company did try to get into the plant-based business and even bought a 5 percent stake in Beyond Meat as a healthier alternative to animal meat but backed down at the last minute. Instead, it released its own line of plant-based meat alternatives with burger patties, bratwurst, Italian sausage, and even “ground meat” made from pea protein.
There’s nothing better than a family-owned business – especially if that business turns into a multinational gold mine! Cargill is another American privately held company that boasts an impressively long list of products and activities. The company holds stakes in food, agriculture, financial and industrial products. The Minnesota-headquartered company was founded in 1865 by William Wallace Cargill and has thrived for over 150 years. Cargill is one of the largest private companies in the United States and employs more than 160,000 people in more than 125 different countries with a solid revenue of $114.7 billion. Cargill claims it wants to “nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way” and tries its best to do so by combining experience with innovations in technology. Its biggest ambition is to ensure a sustainable food supply chain, dealing with issues from climate change to food insecurity. Even though previous years have shown that a larger percentage of Cargill’s revenue came from non-food-related business activities, the company still managed to rank as the ninth-largest food and beverage company in the world. With so much experience in agricultural production and meat production under its belt, Cargill definitely knows a thing or two about success.
1. JBS S.A
Even though veganism has been on the rise for some time now, meat is still very much present in our lives – thanks to successful companies like JBS S.A. JBS S.A is a Brazilian company that also happens to be the largest meat processing and exporting company in the world. Anything from beef, pork, and chicken to even prepared foods, JBS S.A sells in more than 15 countries. JBS was first created in the 1950s when José Batista Sobrinh opened a small plant that could only process five head of cattle per day, up in Anápolis, Goiás, Brazil’s Midwest region. From there, the company grew into a global leader in the meat production industry, serving 350,000 clients in over 150 countries. Even though the company is headquartered in São Paulo, the US has played a huge role in the development of JBS and accounts for most of the total sales. JBS S.A has $51.2 billion in revenue and sees extraordinary growth every year in terms of income. The company’s main rival is, without a doubt, Tyson Foods, as they are both trying to deliver the best quality meat possible, but JBS remains number one.