How much of the U.S. market do the top candy corporations control?
When I was a kid, I loved Halloween (okay, honestly, I still do). Like most kids, I loved it for the candy, and I always went for chocolate: Hershey’s bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, you name it.
But for me, the very best candy was from Hebert’s, the local candy shop that’s been in my hometown in Massachusetts for nearly a century. Their “store” is a big old house, which they call the Candy Mansion, and it was packed wall to wall with every sort of candy, all of it house-made. I remember it seeming like Willy Wonka’s factory when I was a kid; it was larger than life.
Sadly, I won’t find Hebert’s candies where I live now. In fact, you have to make a real effort to find any local candy at Halloween. That’s because over 99 percent of Halloween candy is made by just three mega-companies.
That’s right. For all the types of little, individually wrapped chocolates you see on the shelves at Halloween, 99.4 percent of it is made by just three companies: Hershey, Mars, and Nestlé. Those are your only choices — and that really is scary!
Why? Because these three companies are infamous for environmental, social justice and deceptive marketing problems, and candy is just the tip of the iceberg. Our researchers at Food & Water Watch have found this trend throughout the supermarket, not just in the candy aisle: across the board, fewer and fewer companies, despite all the brands that we see, are producing our food. This is a serious problem. When just three companies control virtually all of our candy (or any other category of food), the choices we make are just an illusion. Those companies have all the power over what we eat.
Want to avoid genetically engineered ingredients? Good luck.
Do you prefer sugar to high fructose corn syrup? They don’t care.
Are you trying to create a better world by supporting the right businesses when you shop? That only works if you have several options to choose among — and increasingly, you don’t.
That’s why Food & Water Watch is challenging the lies food companies are trying to feed us. If we want to change the system, first we have to wake people up to the fact that our food is controlled by big corporations — even more than we ever realized.
Want to learn more about consolidation in the food supply? Take this quiz to find out how much you know about the Foodopoly. The facts are truly frightening.