Food Barons 2022: Crisis Profiteering, Digitalization and Shifting Power

ETC Group

ETC Group’s 2022 update of corporate concentration offers a snapshot of the world’s Food Barons – the biggest players up and down the industrial food and agriculture chain. We examine the leading corporations that control each of 11 key industrial “agrifood” sectors: seeds, agrochemicals, livestock genetics, synthetic fertilizers, farm machinery, animal pharmaceuticals, commodity traders, food processors, Big Meat, grocery retail and food delivery. Rankings are based on 2020 sales figures.

Our findings show that many agrifood sectors are now so “top heavy” they are controlled by just four to six dominant firms, enabling these companies to wield enormous influence over markets, agricultural research and policy-development, which undermines food sovereignty.

… We also bring attention to three critical, multi-sectoral trends that increase the ability of the Food Barons – Big Ag, together with Big Tech and Big Finance – to maintain control over the Industrial Food Chain.

It’s time to divest from the Industrial Food Chain. Institutions under pressure from civil society have already succeeded in partly directing funds away from tobacco, arms and fossil fuels on moral grounds. Grassroots climate movements have successfully named fossil fuel companies as the obstruction to meaningful climate action. Food movements should follow suit: it is a logical next step to demand the elimination of all financial support to the Industrial Food Chain, exposing its high degree of transnational corporate control and its multiple abuses.

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