The pace of corporate merger and acquisition in the food industry is as rapid as it is aggressive. Nearly every day, more news emerges of companies literally at the top of the food chain swallowing smaller brands into their portfolios. How contracted has it become? In a new book, Concentration and Power in the Food System (Bloomsbury 2016), Philip Howard, PhD, associate professor in the department of community sustainability at Michigan State University, takes a detailed dive into the web of corporate food, mapping who owns what and explaining how it potentially affects consumers.
Howard points out that at almost every key stage of the food system, four firms alone control 40% or more of the market. Any more control than this could give these companies the power to drive up prices for consumers and reduce the rate of innovation. Researchers have identified additional problems resulting from these trends, including negative impacts on the environment, human health and communities. The book is available on Amazon.