National Junk Food Day: Who Owns Your Favorite Snack Food?

Daniel Banas  |

As of today, we’re officially a month into summer, and all the low-key fun the season has to offer - meaning barbecues, pool parties, ball games, road trips, and dumb summer movies in air-conditioned theaters. Aside from being ideal mindless summer fun, these activities have another thing in common: They’re all a perfect excuse for loading up on your favorite junk food!

That’s why it makes perfect sense that today is National Junk Food Day, a day to celebrate the snacks that offer next-to-nothing in nutritional value, but often make up for it in comfort and nostalgia. These junk foods also offer another benefit: they provide billions in revenue for their parent companies and those invested in them.

That got us wondering: What snack foods are the most profitable holdings for their owners? Further still, what parent companies are their owners? Below, we’ve compiled a list of some major companies, and some of the most popular junk food brands they own. Mind you, we didn’t include candy, (we already broke those down here). Instead, we’re sticking to chips, crackers, and soft drinks.

So, without further ado, grab your favorite nutrition-free edible offering and let’s dive into the business-side of junk food:\\

Coca-Cola (KO)

Market Cap: $197.4 B
Annual Revenue: $47.51B

Since you’re able to read this, it’s safe to say that you’re familiar with Coca-Cola, one of the most popular and iconic soft drinks of all time. What you might not know is that Coca-Cola is much more than Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Cherry, Vanilla Coke Zero, or even Coca-Cola Life (yes, this exists: it’s a version made with stevia and sugar as sweeteners).

Coca-Cola also owns about 120 beverage brands that range from the vaguely healthy like Simply Orange juice, and POWERADE ZERO to blatant junk-like Monster energy drinks, Surge and Dr. Pepper.

Aside from the ones that are purely water, nearly all of these could be argued to be junk food (or junk beverages). Among these, several make up for more than $1 billion in annual revenue for the company on their own. Aside from Coca-Cola, the billion annual club includes:

  • Minute Maid
  • Simply
  • Del Valle
  • Powerade
  • Glaceau Vitamin Water
  • Fanta
  • Sprite

Yes, despite their wide swath of lucrative holdings, the company namesake still accounts for approximately 78% of their total gallon sales and $44.29 billion in revenue.

Point is, Coca-Cola would all but have a strangle hold on bad-for-you beverages if it wasn’t for their mortal foe...

PepsiCo (PEP)

Market Cap: $156.98 B
Annual Revenue: $31.9B

Pespi has long been seen as Coke’s little brother, making up only about 8.8% of the US soda market to Coke’s 17.6%. And while PespiCo’s market cap is indeed more than $40 billion less than that of Coca-Cola, PepsiCo also happens to have a snack division that makes up a robust 50% of the company’s sales volume. These include some of the most popular names in the snack food space. Names like:

  • Frito-Lay, which accounts for $11.5 billion in annual sales, and a brand value of $13.6 billion. Frito-Lay also produces Doritos, Cheetos, Tostitos and (appropriately enough) Fritos and Lay’s. Individually each of these brands brings in over $1 billion annually for PepsiCo.

PepsiCo also owns Ruffles and Rold Gold pretzels. Point being, even if you swear by Coke, if you’re a fan of snack foods, I hate to break it to you, but you’re team Pepsi.

Kellogg (K)

Market Cap: $30.31B
Revenue: $14.792B

Kellogg Company is a Battle Creek, Michigan-based food manufacturer that’s perhaps best known for its cereal, but which actually has a wide swath of snack brands under its name as well. Many of the best known are manufactured by Sunshine Biscuits, purchased by Keebler in 1996, which was subsequently purchased by Kellogg in 2000.

Sunshine Biscuits is the company responsible for bringing us Hi-Ho Crackers, Nut Sunday Cookies, as well as big names:

  • Cheez-It snack crackers (annual sales of $670.4 million)
  • Pringles ($532.2 million)
  • Krispy saltine crackers ($11.67 million)

Mondelez International (MDLZ)

Market Cap: $70.79B
Revenue: $33.2B

There’s a good chance you’re not familiar with the name Mondelez International, but you almost certainly know the snack foods under the Mondelez name. That’s because Mondelez is the name of the parent company of the various snack and food brands of Kraft Heinz Co (KHC) after the spinoff of its North American grocery operations in 2012.

So what snacks fall under the Mondelez umbrella? Kitchen cabinet standbys like Nabisco, which further breaks down to brands like:

  • Triscuit (annual sales of $487.7 million)
  • Wheat Thins (annual sales of $341.3 million)
  • Ritz Crackers (annual sales of $487.7 million)

So there you have it. It’s entirely possible you’ve gone your whole life never eating a snack that wasn’t made by one of these four parent companies. If keeping track of all these intertwining business relationships leaves you feeling woozy, no matter - take a seat and have yourself a snack...

(Photo by Don Buciak II)

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer.

Companies

Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
MDLZ Mondelez International Inc. 54.82 -0.59 -1.06 4,812,569 Trade
K Kellogg Company 62.13 -0.24 -0.38 1,236,241 Trade
KO Coca-Cola Company (The) 53.30 -0.36 -0.67 9,433,728 Trade

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