The worlds largest food companies are all ancient…

Business Insider just published an infographic showing the Ten companies that control nearly everything we eat and their sub brands. Eyeing the list I was struck that there are no new companies there. Digging into it a bit further it turns out that the average age of these companies is 107 (and that’s taking the most recent dates).

In a world where incumbents are getting turned over faster and faster that’s remarkable (the average tenure in the S&P 500 is now 18 years – see here).

These are all great firms with strong brands that have shown great adaptability, but I would be amazed if there isn’t an upstart in that list at some point soon. My impression is that investors are paying more attention to food startups now, maybe this is why. Soylent anyone?

Full list of the companies and their founding year below.

  • Pepsico: founded 1919
  • General Mills: founded 1866
  • Kellogg’s: founded 1906
  • Associated British Foods: founded 1935
  • Modelez Internationa: founded 1923 as National Dairy Products
  • Mars: founded 1911/1920 (Wikipedia gives two years)
  • Danone: founded 1919
  • Unilever: formed 1929 by the merger of British soap maker Lever Brothers and Dutch margerine maker Margerine Unie
  • Coca Cola: founded 1886
  • Nestle: founded 1867
  • Mark Hammond

    That is interesting, even when you consider that they’re essentially collections of sub brands even those are incredibly persistent. My partner works at unilever and I find it fascinating how it’s a market where most people are happy with the same mediocre product, every week, forever, reluctant to try anything new, this clearly doesn’t apply at the top end but I wonder how long it will apply to the middle of the market.