The company that makes Lean Cuisine, Jenny Craig, and PowerBar also makes Häagen-Dazs, Kit-Kat, and Hot Pockets. The Nestlé conglomerate owns some 8,000 brands of consumer products. Arrowhead, Deer Park, Poland Spring bottled water — all the same company. Tombstone, DiGiorno, Stouffer's, California Pizza Kitchen — all Nestlé. They even have a life insurance division.
Nestlé is the largest such consumable goods-producing conglomerate; for scale, the third largest is Unilever, which owns just the 400 brands. Twenty-nine of Nestlé's brands each make at least one billion dollars a year, and overall, their brands generate about $100,000,000,000/year in revenue.
That may sound like a lot — and to normal people like us, it is! — but it's only enough to put Nestlé on the very bottom (65th) of the list of companies with at least one hundred billion in annual revenue generation. Topping that list is (you guessed it) Wal-Mart, which generates $465,000,000,000 a year. Twenty-one of these companies, or almost one-third of them, are oil and gas producers.
I am not the paranoid type (this isn't about Nestlé seeding their chocolates with passivity drugs), nor am I the hardcore anti-corporation type. I do prefer local businesses over big box outfits. But looking at the list of companies that make $100 billion/year, it seems impossible that anyone can live without patronizing them at some point.
- If you drive a car, or put gas in one, you pay them.
- If you shop at cheap retail chains, you pay them.
- If you use a smart-phone, you pay them.
- If your clothing contains certain fibers, you pay them.
- If you buy any of that second-hand, or at a mom-and-pop shop, you've paid them anyway, since the wares had to be shipped from somewhere (ergo, gasoline/diesel was used in transit).
Some folk boycott Wal-Mart. But what difference does that make? Let's say you use your iPhone on AT&T's LTE network while driving a Toyota you fueled up at Wawa (their gas is from BP) and head to CVS to pick up a generic prescription and a bag of Sno-Caps, all the while wearing your moisture-wicking t-shirt. Guess what — you've just paid eight of the other $100+ billion/year companies. Change the details in that example and the result is the same: Verizon, CostCo, Samsung, Ford, GM, Honda, McKesson, Koch, etc. But hey, at least you never gave Wal-Mart a dime ... right?
There's no moral to this post, and I refuse to tell you what to think or how to act. Even if you've read this far, you wouldn't change your behavior anyway! I'm just sayin', an awful lot of money and consumption goes to the same companies.