We lose the power of personal choice
When you are in the grocery aisle, Stacey’s Pita Chips and Bear Naked seem like independent brands. When we buy these products, we feel like we’re supporting small businesses or getting something unique. But here’s the truth: PepsiCo owns Stacey’s Pita Chips, and Kellogg’s owns Bear Naked. The same goes for thousands of independent-seeming brands across the supermarket.
Many companies even sell multiple brands of the same product, which means that when we think we are choosing between competitors, we might just be choosing among products made by the same company – that may have even been made at the same factory.
Small businesses don’t get a slice of the pie
In 2012, top food companies such as Coca-Cola and Kraft Foods controlled an average of 63 percent of the sales of 100 types of groceries. In 32 different grocery categories (such as soft drinks and bread), four or fewer companies controlled at least 75 percent of sales. In six grocery categories, the top companies sold more than 90 percent of products, including baby formula and microwave dinners. When corporations are controlling most of the store shelf, how are smaller businesses supposed to get their products in front of people? The monopolization of our grocery stores blocks innovation and prevents new, unique foods from getting in our shopping bags.
We pay more for less
Today, people buy groceries from a small number of large, powerful supermarket chains. In 2012, more than half of the money that Americans spent on groceries went to the four largest retailers: Walmart, Kroger, Target and Safeway. Numerous regional supermarkets still display old names like Fred Meyer and Dillons, but are in fact controlled by larger chains. Not only does this grocery store consolidation limit our choice of where to shop, it forces us to pay more for our daily necessities. The link between store monopolization and retail grocery prices has been proven. With so few competitors in the picture, corporations can charge customers whatever they want for bread, eggs, cereal and other daily food items – and they don’t pass our food dollars back to workers and farmers further back up the food chain.
How can I protect my food and water from corporations?
We live in a Foodopoly, where fewer and fewer corporations are increasingly controlling where the food we eat. And it gets worse. In the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court gave corporations massive power over our democracy, treating them just like people... except that, in the case of corporations, protecting their supposed "freedom of speech" means allowing them to make unlimited political donations and effectively buy campaigns.
That's no way for democracy to function. These corporations shouldn't control our food supply or our political process. The only way we can take back control from the “grocery goliaths” is to make our voices heard. Help us take back democracy for the people and overturn Citizens United and demand that regulators rein in Big Food!