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Bet you didn’t know these huge corporations own your favorite brands

There are those who shop unconsciously like clockwork that buys brands they are familiar with, but don’t necessarily know the company, or companies — behind the brand.

Then there are those like you who research brands before you invest in them and want a good return on your investment. We gather up the well known brands you pick up at the grocery store that’s churned out by the big major multinational corporations that spends millions if not billions marketing for you to grab-n-go, and generate billions in profit.

How many of your favorite brands are owned by the same company?

Walk into any standard grocery or corner store in the U.S., and you’re greeted by a massive variety of popular brands, stuffing every aisle full of endless choices. Or so it might seem.

In reality, a small number of the world’s biggest corporations control many, if not most, of the popular brands you encounter every day. And the weird mix of things they own can be surprising. For example, Mars, maker of M&M’S, also operates Banfield Pet Hospitals — where you might take your dog if he ate a bunch of a M&M’S. Many of the top brands in the pizza aisle of a grocery store — DiGiorno, Jack’s and Tombstone — are all owned by Nestlé, which also owns Gerber baby foods, as well as the chocolate goodies normally associated with the brand.

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1. Nestlé

Nestlé, based in Switzerland, is one of the largest food companies in the world. Established in 1866 as the Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Co., it merged with Henri Nestlé’s infant food formula in 1905 to gain its moniker. It has 2,000-plus brands, 335,000 employees and 436 factories in 85 countries. It sells in 189 countries and is worth more than $240 billion, according to a recent Bloomberg report that cited company statistics.

Here are a few of the many products the company offers in the U.S.:

Candy bars — Crunch, ButterfingerPet food — Fancy Feast, PurinaFrozen pizza — DiGiorno, Jack’s, TombstoneIce cream — Dreyers, Häagen-DazsBaby food — GerberFrozen and prepared food — Lean Cuisine, Hot Pockets, Stouffer’s, BuitoniWater — Poland SpringThe company is now moving into more healthful products, according to Bloomberg, with its motto, “Good Food, Good Life.”

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2. Kraft Heinz

As if the 100-plus-year-old Kraft wasn’t big enough, the company merged with 150-year-old Heinz last year, adding even more famous brands to Kraft’s already lengthy list.

Besides the obvious products like Kraft’s many cheeses, mac and cheese — both the powdered variety in the infamous blue-box macaroni as well as its alternative Velveeta — and ketchup and mustard, the company also owns name brands like Oscar Mayer, Ore-Ida, Kool-Aid, Planters, Jell-O, Cool Whip, Philadelphia cream cheese (fun fact: not made in Philadelphia), Lunchables, Classico pasta sauce and Maxwell House coffee. The merged company is headquartered in Chicago.

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3. Coca-Cola

Despite the fact that Atlanta-based Coca-Cola, established in 1886, is the largest beverage maker in the world, its cadre of brands isn’t quite as expansive or varied as others on this list, sticking to the company’s origins: beverages. Besides the company’s flagship Coke products, it also owns Dasani, Glaceau Vitaminwater, Powerade, Honest Tea, Minute Maid and Odwalla fruit juices, which it purchased in 2001.

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4. PepsiCo

PepsiCo, based in Purchase, N.Y., is similar to Coca-Cola in its domination of the beverage market, but the company’s tentacles extend into the snacks category as well.

The company owns several major brands, including Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Tropicana and Quaker. So that means it owns the obvious products like juice, Quaker oatmeal, Life cereal, Lay’s potato chips and all the –o’s chips — Doritos, Cheetos, Fritos, Tostitos.

It also owns lesser-known brands like Stacy’s Pita Chips and Sabra hummus — PepsiCo owns half the company, according to Fast Company — and Sun Chips, as well as the Naked juice line and the SoBe drinks line.

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5. Procter & Gamble

A truly massive company, Cincinnati-based P&G owns many of the brands probably sitting in your bathroom right now. The company even owns multiple brands in the same categories, such as:

Toothpaste — Crest and Oral-BHaircare products — Herbal Essences, Head & Shoulders, PanteneRazors — Braun, GilletteLaundry detergent — Gain, Downy, TideDiapers — Luvs, PampersFeminine care products — Always, TampaxCleaning products — Febreze, SwifferPaper products — Charmin, Bounty

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6. Johnson & Johnson

Like Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson has a major stake in your bathroom, but its focus is more health-related. For example, Johnson & Johnson owns Tylenol, Sudafed, Benadryl, Motrin, Bengay, Band-Aid, Neosporin and Visine. It also owns Listerine, Rembrandt, Rogaine, Neutrogena, Lubriderm, Aveeno and Clean & Clear. The 130-year-old company is headquartered in New Brunswick, N.J., and sold some of the earliest first aid kits.

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7. Unilever

Originally established as a margarine company in the 1870s, Unilever owns dozens of well-known brands in personal care, cleaning and food. It owns Axe, Dove, Hellman’s mayonnaise, Tresemmé, Vaseline, Lipton iced tea, Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Lever 2000, Country Crock butter, Degree deodorant, Suave, Popsicle and Good Humor ice cream, just to name a few.

The company’s main divisions are headquartered in England and the Netherlands.

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8. Mars

Mars products take up a big chunk of the checkout stand candy section with its M&M’s, Snickers, Skittles and Twix products; as well as gums and mints Life Savers, Juicy Fruit and Altoids. It also manufactures Uncle Ben’s rice and Combos snacks.

But the Virginia-based company also owns a few unexpected products. Although originally established as a candy company more than 100 years ago, it’s actually a leading pet care company, producing Iams, Pedigree and Whiskas, as well as being behind the chain of Banfield Pet Hospitals since the mid-1990s.



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