Corporate Monopolies are Hiding in Your Grocery Aisle

February 25, 2020 Media

Psst: The same company is selling you Q-Tips, mayonnaise, and Ben & Jerry’s.

At your local pharmacy, the options can feel overwhelming, even in the deodorant aisle. Dove, Axe, or Degree? Or maybe Secret, Gillette, or Old Spice? Or maybe Speed Stick?

While the brands and labels are different, you actually don’t have that many choices at all. Three companies basically own the aisle — Unilever, Procter & Gamble, and Colgate-Palmolive. They’re three of the biggest consumer goods conglomerates in the world.

That’s the thing about the choices you think you have in spending your money: A lot of the time, they’re just not real.

That’s the conclusion of a new report from the American Economic Liberties Project. The organization launched in February and is headed by Sarah Miller, former deputy director of the anti-monopoly think tank Open Markets Institute and an antitrust expert. Its mission is to combat monopolistic behavior and corporate power and their effects on democracy and the economy. It’s part of a growing push for antitrust enforcement on the left.

The Economic Liberties Project report delves into the “illusion of choice” — basically, the fact that across industries, a handful of corporations control the majority of products, brands, and services. It ranges from cereals, beers, and snacks to car rental services, hotels, and even eyeglasses.