It’s easy to get a little overwhelmed when you walk into a huge grocery store. After all, you don’t just buy a bag of chips. You pick one from about 50 different options. Same with soap. Do you want to smell Dove fresh or Irish Springs clean? It seems like there’s an endless number of brand choices for almost any product you can buy.
Common wisdom holds that you support different companies when you purchase different products. But what if these infinite number of brands don’t really represent different choices? What if you picked out 100 products from a store and discovered that, despite all the different brand names and marketing techniques, the products were all owned by one of about 10 corporations?
As strange as that sounds, it’s actually closer to the truth than you might think.
An infographic produced by someone with entirely too much time on their hands shows just how few companies own so much of what you buy. It shows 10 corporations – Kraft, Nestle, and Pepsico, to name a few – who sell dozens of competing products using different brand names.
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For example, you’d think Joy, Dawn, and Cascade are competitors in the dishwasher soap market right? Nope. They are all owned by Proctor & Gamble.
Or maybe you can’t choose between a bag of Lays or Ruffles chips. Despite selling nearly identical products, both brands are made by Pepsico.
Same goes for someone trying to choose between Dove, Suave, or Irish Springs soap. All three brands are owned by Unilever.The list goes on.
We don't have nearly as much choice as we think we do when it comes to so many of our common household products. Check it out (right click to open a larger version):
Ed. Note: This graph does not show that Pringles was sold by P&G to Kellogg. So mentally move it from one side of the graph to the other.