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Another Food Processing Industry Takeover!

There’s been another major takeover – of one processed food maker by another – in the U.S. But it’s more than that, because both of the U.S. giants involved are already major global players in the processed food sphere. Who’s behind the mega-merger and what does it mean for consumers?

Kraft and Heinz both make Mayo...Heinz and Kraft both make a wide variety of condiments, including Mayo, Relishes,
Salad Dressings and other stuff. Only one brand will survive…

Many not tuned in to the higher realms of the processed food industry were shocked to hear that H.J. Heinz is taking over Kraft Foods. Both have, in recent years, been the architects of lesser takeovers of smaller companies, building their own sizable empires.

But, now, super-billionaire Warren Buffet and his pals at 3G Corporation of Brazil have stepped in and taken ‘huge’ one size bigger…

Words fail…

What’s the word for ‘bigger than gi-normous? There isn’t one. Yet. But something coined to describe the Heinz/Kraft merger may fill that void.

Buffet and 3G just got finished taking over Heinz, laying off thousands and closing plants around the world. As we’ve previously reported in this space, that’s standard operating procedure for 3G. No sooner had 3G asset Burger King taken over Canadian coffee shop icon Tim Horton’s than it was announced Tim’s would be ‘streamlining’ to cut costs, including hundreds of layoffs across the chain.

With 3G, industry insiders and financial analysts say, it’s all about profit.

Foodservice types say 3G’s method taking over an operation and squeezing it for maximum profit spell service cuts and menu corrosion and quality slips. And – sooner or later – the erosion of the brand into a shadow of what it once was.

The end game…

How long will it take, at this rate, for all the food processors and chain retailers to be bought up into one mammoth (again, words fail) conglomerate which controls all the processed, packaged and fast-service food?

Then what? $20 Big Macs? $10 Fries? $5 Cokes? A $5 box of Kraft Dinner? How much would people pay before the pendulum began to swing back toward making our own food from basic, unprocessed ingredients? With that would come a new awareness of the place food takes in our lives, of dietary choices and their pluses and minuses, of nutrition and health issues in general…

And, after that… How long until the Fast Food joints begin to wither and close? Until the processed food industry backs off from its current and seeming implacable drive to literally own it all and control it all?

Sounds like the stuff of Science Fiction or post apocalyptic fear-mongering, I know. But it could happen… Much depends on how you, the consumer and home-cook react to all the changes that are starting to take place!

~ Maggie J.