Behind the Brands company logos

Go behind the brands you buy

25 February, 2013 | GROW

What do Twinings, Toblerone and Tropicana have in common? The same as Coca Cola, Cheerios and Cadbury's, Ovaltine and Oreos, Pringles and Pop tarts. They're all made by the 'Big 10' food companies, who between them make over $1 billion a day.

Here at Oxfam we’ve spent a good part of the past 18 months looking at how the world’s biggest food firms - household names like Nestle, Coca Cola, Pepsi and Kellogg - do business. While some are doing better than others, overall, the results are bad news. But the good news is that no brand is so big it can ignore its customers – and that’s where you come in.

We know you already think hard about what you buy, so we’re not asking you to feel guilty about it. Instead we want to work with you to push for these companies we buy from everyday to do better. We’ve created a simple ‘Behind the Brands’ Scorecard to compare how the 10 biggest food companies score on issues from water to workers. The results aren’t pretty – and when it comes to supporting the women in supply chains all companies are failing.

Start with the women behind your chocolate

Three companies - Nestle, Mars and Mondelez - buy over 30% of the cocoa grown worldwide. But the women who grow and pick that cocoa are getting a raw deal. 

This matters because it’s women who most often provide food for their families, and thousands of these women farmers and their families are going hungry. And because you buy the bars, you really can change the way those chocolate companies do business.

For decades, these companies have put women front and center in their advertising but have ignored the women they rely on to grow the chocolate. It’s time for Nestle, Mars and Mondelez to LOOK, LISTEN and ACT for the women who grow their cocoa.

But first, they’ll listen to you. You don’t need to stop buying chocolate. But you can stop the big chocolate companies from putting women last. Sign the petition now and urge these companies to act.

Because if you think you can’t change the food system, you really need to think again. You’re more powerful than any of the world’s biggest food companies. Without you, they won’t stay big for long.

 

Comments

my confession

I love chocolate my mom and I would buy twosnickers bars almost everyday when Id get out Of school it was to no shame, my grandma would make cocoa for us even in the ummer I crave the drink when Im cleaning n with meals I try to control myself seriously

I fail to see what the

I fail to see what the previous coment has to do with the story

Relevance

Basically she's saying she's an addict, this is going to be like her petitioning a drug dealer to change their cocaine manufacturing process to be more environmentally friendly...

There are alternative companies

I abandoned most of these companies years ago and Cadbury in the wake of their takeover by Kraft.  The fact is that each of them already know about their ethical and environmental shortcomings but their corporate conscience lacks any willingness to address the issues.  And whilst it's true a few have made improvements over the years I remain concerned that most have to be pushed, cajoled or forced (e.g. through regulation) to make changes.  I would rather spend my money with companies I can trust to implement best practices with a programme of continuous monitoring and review on the ethical and environmental fronts.

 

Never going to change corporations

Either the workers get paid so little, or we the consumer have to shell out to cover the "Fair" Trade gap.

Real Fair Trade would take the difference out of the corporation's massive profits rather than the pockets of the consumer, but that's never going to happen.

Which are the companies we

Which are the companies we CAN trust? Which chocolate shall we buy? I think we should spend more effort in showing people which are the good one's in comparison to the bad one's.

Fair Trade is half the answer; we gotta change the big guys too!

Yes, certainly, you can make positive choices by buying fair-trade products.

But you cannot ignore the big brands who wield so much power over the market and people's lives in the producing countries.

We all have to engage with those companies if we really want to change things for the better for the millions who are affected by the actions of the big guys!

As a consumer you have a voice - use it wisely to make the world a better place!

yes, i agree.   who are the

yes, i agree.   who are the good companies.

Great campaign Oxfam. Thanks

Great campaign Oxfam. Thanks for giving us the information we need to pressure the companies we buy from to do better. Land grabs are hideous and we don't want to be part of them...

We have to engage with powerful brands if we want real change

Yes, certainly, we can make positive choices by buying fair-trade products.

But we cannot ignore the big brands who wield so much power over the market and people's lives in the producing countries. 

We have to engage with those companies if we really want to change things for the better for the millions who are affected by the actions of the big guys!

As a consumer you have a voice - use it wisely to make the world a better place!

Do you not see the irony of your add and your mission

I think throwing chocolate at a woman is degrading and borders on a slasher film approach to making your point.  Did you all watch "Makers" last night on PBS?  Degrading a woman has no moral nor ethical justification.  Please take that down now.

Thanks Gail for your comment.

Thanks Gail for your comment. With this film, we wanted to pick up on the very strong trend in chocolate advertising to focus on women (see this recent example from Mars on M7Ms - http://youtu.be/bBBcU8at568), and to subvert or interrupt that with the uncomfortable reality. The explosion of chocolate is an analogy for this.

We were very careful to make sure that the model featured in the film is unimpressed by the explosion - in the same way that we hope chocolate consumers are when they realise that companies are not doing as they should for the women we all rely on to grow the cocoa that makes our chocolate so delicious.

soft porn

well you draw on the soft porn analogy used by chocolate advertisers. then put the words hungry in front of the very thin model's stomach. already this is a mixed message. that model is definitely hungry but not like the women farmers. throwing the chocolate in her face is a degrading action to the model which is presumably supposed to make us think about the degradation of the women who are being exploited to farm the cocoa BUT actually your treatment of this image - its gloss, the slow motion so beloved of paint advertisers, the HD close up and the texture of the quality of chocolate on her skin is still soft porn - it says degraded model not degraded women farmers. I am spectacularly unimpressed with this approach to information giving. It uses tropes that degrade women in an unintelligent way - perpetuating rather than critiquing.

How to change the system?

This report has made national news here in Australia, but I honestly don't think many people will change their purchases at the check out simply because I don't feel that there is enough promotion for those companies that do the right thing. Naming and shaming these big brands is a good thing, but there should be a real push on the large supermarkets for refusing to sell them, similar to factory farming animal products. Not sure what the answer is......

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