Uni-lever, Mars, Pepsi, Coca Cola, Kraft, Nestle, P&G, General Mills, Kellogs and Johnson and Johnson. These are the ten companies that rule over many of the brands you buy knowingly or unknowingly.
Unilever produces everything from Dove soap to Klondike bars. Nestle has a big stake in L'Oreal, which features everything from cosmetics to Diesel designer jeans.
Ever wonder why you can't get a Coke at Taco Bell? It's because Yum! Brands was created as a spin-off of Pepsi--and has a lifetime contract with the soda-maker.
No one is saying these companies are like Keiretsu's in Japan, although i will admit that was the first thing that came to mind when I saw this diagram (see below). Considering most of this is retail I'm sure you can do this with other industries. What are your thoughts? Is it slightly disturbing that so few companies have controlling stakes in most of the food/bev products you consume?