Companies That Control the World’s Food

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General Mills, Inc. (NYSE: GIS)
> Revenue: $17.9 billion
> Advertising spending: $1.1 billion
> Profits: $1.8 billion
> Employees: 43,000

General Mills owns a number of America’s best-known brands, including Betty Crocker, Green Giant, and Pillsbury. No company received a lower rating from Oxfam for its overall approach to major policy issues. General Mills had the lowest scores in awareness and policies regarding climate change. Recently, however, General Mills announced new initiatives designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its supply chain. As part of the announcement, General Mills also pledged to implement specific emissions targets, to review supplier practices, and to name its largest suppliers of palm oil and sugar in order to improve transparency.

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Kellogg Company (NYSE: K)
> Revenue: $14.8 billion
> Advertising spending: $1.1 billion
> Profits: $1.8 billion
> Employees: 30,277

Among the top food companies, Kellogg is the smallest by revenue. Still, as of 2013, the company had nearly $15 billion in sales, a similar amount in total assets, and more than 30,000 employees. Kellogg also owns a large number of very well-known brands, including Kellogg’s cereal, Keebler, and Pringles, which it acquired in 2012 for $2.7 billion. According to Kellogg, it is the world’s leading cereal company and the second-largest maker of cookies. In all, Kellogg makes 1,600 different foods, which it sells in more than 180 different countries. Kellogg received a lower overall rating from Oxfam for its practices than all but two of the other 10 companies. However, in a recent release, Oxfam praised Kellogg for its pledge to cut greenhouse emissions in its supply chain.

Mars, Incorporated
> Revenue: $33.0 billion
> Advertising spending: $2.2 billion
> Profits: N/A
> Employees: 60,000

Mars is the the only one of the world’s 10 largest food companies that is privately owned. Mars owns several well-known chocolate brands, such as M&Ms, Milky Way, Snickers and Twix. Mars also owns a range of food brands such as Uncle Ben’s rice, as well as chewing gum and candy-maker Wrigley. Among the big 10 global food companies, Mars received the lowest policy ratings for water and land issues. In both cases, Oxfam penalized the company for its lack of knowledge of its environmental impact, as well as for its supplier policies.