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American Brands that are Now Owned by Foreign Investors

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It seems that American Brands can mean big business for foreign investors and they are snapping up brands that are well known and loved by American Consumers in record numbers.

While they may keep production in the United States most of the time American jobs are lost when these companies take over. For example when “3G Capital led InBev’s hostile takeover of Anheuser-Busch, 1,400 jobs were cut from the formerly American owned company with “75% of them in St. Louis. They also brought in Brazilian executives from InBev.” The same thing with Heinz slashing “350 of the 1,200 full-time jobs at Pittsburgh headquarters, plus another 250 elsewhere in North America.”

Ironically these foreign owned companies still enjoy tax breaks for having factories here in the USA. Although tax breaks are not enough to keep these companies from opening up factories in their home countries. Kraft Heinz which was purchased in part by 3G Capital a Brazilian investment firm has decided to spend “$380 million dollars building a new factory in Brazil that will produce Heinz and Want foods, such as ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and tomato sauces.”

While these billion dollar buyouts may be good for investors they are not good for the American worker and quite possibly the future of food manufacturing in the USA.

Here are some iconic American brands that have been sold to foreign investors.

JIM BEAM
First introduced to whiskey loving Americans in 1795 this brand is one of the best selling brands of whiskey in the world. It was purchased by Beam Suntory, a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings of Osaka, Japan in 2014. Production is still done in Clermont, Kentucky.

MAKER’S MARK
Known for it’s distinct square bottle with the red seal, Marker’s Mark was first introduced in 1958. They had their share of controversy in 2013 when they decided to reduce the proof of their alcohol from 90% of 84% in February 2013. Eight days later they changed their minds after receiving backlash from consumers. The company was then sold to Beam Suntory, a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings of Osaka, Japan in 2014. Production is still done in Loretto, Kentucky.

HELLMANS
You can thank Richard Hellman for creating this beloved condiment that is used on sandwiches, in potato salads and more. Fun fact the bottle used to have 3 ribbons on the front and that was changed to one ribbon in May of 1914. The brand was acquired by British consumer goods company Unilever in 2000.

BEN & JERRY’S
Founded in 1978 in Burlington, Vermont the ice cream became popular in part because of the quirky guys who started the company but also because of the names off their ice cream flavors such as chunky monkey and cherry garcia. While the company is still headquartered in South Burlington, Vermont they have been owned by Unilever since 2000.

GERBER
Started in 1927 in Fremont, Michigan thanks to a pediatricians recommendation for Dorothy Gerber to strain veggies and fruits for their seven-month-old daughter. She mentioned that her husband who owned a food canning factory should make the baby food so that mothers everywhere could give their babies meats, veggies and fruits without all the hard work. The company was purchased by Swiss owned Nestle in 2007 for $5.5 billion.

SMITHFIELD FOODS
Began in 1936 under the name Smithfield Packing Company in Smithfield, Virginia. Today Smithfield is the largest pig and pork producer in the world. The company, along with many of their brands was purchased by WH Group of China in 2013 for $4.7 billion. They have processing plants in over 500 farms in the USA. Brands include: Smithfield, Eckrich, Nathan’s Famous, Farmland, Armour, Cook’s, John Morrell, Gwaltney, Kretschmar, Margherita, Curly’s, Carando and Healthy Ones.

HEINZ
In 1869 Henry John Heinz started the H. J. Heinz Company. Best known for their Ketchup the Heinz company manufacturers brands such as Ore-Ida, Classico and thousands more. The Heinz company was purchased in 2013 by Berkshire Hathaway (an American multinational real estate company) and 3G Capital (a Brazilian multi-billion dollar investment firm).

KRAFT
Best known for brands like Planters, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Kool-Aid, Maxwell House, Grey Poupon, Oscar Mayer and others was purchased by Berkshire Hathaway (an American multinational real estate company) and 3G Capital (a Brazilian multi-billion dollar investment firm) in July of 2015.

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Rachel Wilson

About the Author:

Writer, cat lover and passionate supporter of buying American made and American manufacturing. Looking forward to seeing more products on store shelves that are Made in the USA.
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