Perdue, one of the four biggest chicken companies in the U.S., last week announced plans to improve quality of life for their chickens and to kill them more humanely. Although the plans have largely been seen as a step forward in animal welfare, three big questions remain: how much will it cost to meet these new standards, […]
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Bayer’s $62 billion offer to buy Monsanto is the latest in a series of proposed mega-mergers in the seed and agrochemical sectors, following ChemChina’s planned takeover of Syngenta and Dow’s merger with DuPont. These deals have raised fears of higher prices, reduced crop biodiversity, and even greater obstacles to innovation in these industries. But below […]
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A generation ago, America’s farm and food economy was dominated by small family enterprises. Today, just four companies control 65 percent of pork slaughter, 84 percent of cattle slaughter, and 53 percent of chicken slaughter. Milk production is largely shaped by one large processor, Dean Foods, and one large cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America. Recent mergers, such as the Brussels-based Delhaize’s (Food Lion) acquisition of the Dutch company Ahold (Giant, Stop & Shop), have reduced the number of large grocers down to four. What does all this consolidation mean for our food economy?
Mergers and acquisitions in the food sector rarely draw the eye of supermarket shoppers. But name recognition has brought last week’s announced merger of H.J. Heinz Co. and Kraft Foods Group Inc. to the fore of business news. After all, these companies’ products are household staples — most readers of this article probably have a Heinz or Kraft product in their refrigerator right now. While this merger may seem innocuous — who cares that the mac and cheese company owns the ketchup company? — there could be serious ramifications for consumers and producers.
Believe it or not, there used to be a wide variety of regional candy bars stocking grocery store shelves. But over the last 50 years, the biggest companies have gobbled up the smaller ones to create a highly concentrated industry. How did Hershey’s, Mars, and Nestle take over our shelves of sweets?