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11 Obscure Companies That Own Nearly Every Famous Brand

11 Obscure Companies That Own Nearly Every Famous Brand
11 Obscure Companies That Own Nearly Every Famous Brand

Did you know that the Dove Body Wash you keep in your shower comes from the same corporation as that jar of Hellmann's mayo in your refrigerator?

Or that a German company owns virtually every coffee-and-pastries chain you can think of that isn't Starbucks?

Many products you buy and restaurants you visit are owned by a small number of giant but relatively obscure companies. Here are 11 that are behind an incredible number of famous brands.

1. Unilever: From soap to soup

POZNAN, POLAND - MAR 2, 2017: Introduced to the British market in 1955, Dove is a personal care brand, now owned by Unilever and sold in more than 80 countries
monticello / Shutterstock
Unilever's more than 400 brands include Dove.

Unilever is a massive corporation responsible for more than 400 brands. It says its products are used by 2.5 billion people every day.

It may not make everything from soup to nuts, but it's pretty close. A chunk of your family bank account could be going to Unilever every time you shop.

The company has a more than 150-year history, and for decades its home base was split between England and the Netherlands. But Unilever recently decided to make the Dutch city of Rotterdam its one and only headquarters.

Unilever's brands

PHOENIX, ARIZONA, JULY 30, 2017: Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream on Grocery Store Shelf
designs by Jack / Shutterstock
Unilever is a giant in the ice cream business.

Unilever sells personal care and beauty products including: Q-Tips; Vaseline; Axe body spray; Dove soaps and shampoos; Suave shampoos and lotions; and Noxzema and Pond's skin creams.

It also produces several iconic foods in the U.S.: Hellmann's mayonnaise, Lipton tea and Knorr soups.

And Unilever is a giant in the ice cream and frozen dessert business. It's the company behind the Breyers, Ben & Jerry's, Good Humor, Klondike, Magnum and Popsicle brands.

2. Mondelez: Want a snack?

New York, February 2, 2017: Oreo cookies for sale stand on a shelf in a pharmacy.
Roman Tiraspolsky / Shutterstock
Mondelez makes snack foods, such as Oreo cookies.

Though the name looks Latin American or French, Mondelez International is a U.S.-based snack foods powerhouse that has been around just since 2012.

It used to be part of Kraft Foods.

The name is pronounced mawn-duh-LEEZ and is a made-up word intended to mean "delicious world."

Mondelez's brands

IRVINE, CA - SEPTEMBER 08, 2014: Boxes of Nabisco Wheat Thins and Triscuit Crackers.
LunaseeStudios / Shutterstock
Mondelez's cracker brands include Wheat Thins and Triscuit.

Need something to nibble on? Mondelez has something for that. Its cookie brands include Oreo, Fig Newtons, Chips Ahoy, Nilla, Tate's Bake Shop and Nutter Butter.

The company also owns these cracker brands: Wheat Thins, Ritz, Triscuit and Nabisco Premium saltines.

Additionally, Mondelez makes Sour Patch Kids candy, Dentyne gum and Halls cough drops.

3. Berkshire Hathaway: Handpicked by Buffett

Gettysburg, PA, USA - July 7, 2018: A Dairy Queen restaurant is a chain that serves ice cream, drinks, and fast food sandwiches.
George Sheldon / Shutterstock
Dairy Queen is a Berkshire Hathaway brand.

Even if you haven't heard of Berkshire Hathaway, you ought to know its billionaire leader.

The chairman and CEO is the legendary investor Warren Buffett.

It's a conglomerate made up of companies Buffett has liked enough to say, "I'll take it!" Berkshire has bought them and added them to its portfolio.

Berkshire's brands

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - September 22, 2018: The Circle City Classic Parade, Man wearing the Geico Gecko insurance mascot outfit
Roberto Galan / Shutterstock
Berkshire Hathaway's brands include Geico insurance, known for its gecko mascot.

The major brands fully owned by Berkshire include Dairy Queen, Fruit of the Loom, Geico insurance, Helzberg Diamonds, Pampered Chef kitchen tools and Benjamin Moore paints.

Plus, Duracell batteries, Oriental Trading party supplies, Garanimals kids clothing and See's Candies.

Would you like a chunk of all of that? Buffett has famously never split his company's Class A stock, so it has been trading at more than $300,000 per share. But there's also a Class B that's considerably cheaper.

4. RBI: Fast-food royalty

BERLIN - OCT 01: Burger King restaurant exterior - sign near the main entrance in Berlin on October 01. 2016 in Germany
Savvapanf Photo / Shutterstock
Restaurant Brands International is the parent company of a few fast-food chains, including Burger King.

Restaurant Brands International, or RBI, is a relatively young fast-food business.

The company was created in a 2014 merger. It currently has three big brands under its umbrella.

RBI's brands

PALMDALE, CA/USA - APRIL 23, 2016: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen exterior. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is an American chain of fried chicken fast food restaurants.
Ken Wolter / Shutterstock
RBI acquired Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in 2017.

RBI, which is based in suburban Toronto, was formed when Burger King merged with the coffee and doughnuts chain Tim Hortons.

Three years later, the company added fried chicken to its growing corporate menu when it bought Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.

Analysts expect more deals will give RBI an even bigger fast-food empire.

5. JAB Holding Co.: Brekkie big shot

BANGKOK, THAILAND . DEC 03,2017 .Close up assorted Krispy Kreme donuts with chocolate frosted, pink glazed.Selective focus
Soundaholic studio / Shutterstock
JAB Holding Co. owns Krispy Kreme.

JAB Holding Co. is a secretive German investment conglomerate.

It used to focus on luxury products, such as Bally and Jimmy Choo designer shoes.

But it has been selling off those brands — and cornering the market on breakfast.

JAB's brands

Indianapolis - Circa December 2016: Panera Bread Retail Location. Panera is a Chain of Fast Casual Restaurants Offering Free WiFi V
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock
Panera Bread is one of the many coffee-and-pastries chains owned by JAB.

JAB now owns nearly every coffee and bakery brand other than Starbucks.

Your town is probably filled with these chains, which are all part of JAB: Krispy Kreme; Einstein Bros. Bagels; Krispy Kreme; Panera Bread; Caribou Coffee; Bruegger's Bagels; Peet's Coffee; and Au Bon Pain.

The company also has stable of popular consumer products. They include Keurig coffee makers and Green Mountain coffee, plus Dr Pepper and Snapple soft drinks.

6. Reckitt Benckister: Health and home

Bethesda, MD - March 4, 2018: A shelf full of Lysol cleaning solution at a CVS.
Nicole S Glass / Shutterstock
Lysol cleaners and disinfectants are made by Reckitt Benckiser.

Next time you're in that cabinet under the sink — in either your kitchen or your bathroom — take a close look at product packaging.

You'll likely find that a ton of stuff is made by the British consumer products company Reckitt Benckiser, or RB.

It says its products are available in nearly 200 countries all around the world.

Reckitt Benckiser's brands

MORGANTOWN, WV - 4 JANUARY 2017: Mucinex extended release expectorant tablets and packet on wooden table
Steve Heap / Shutterstock
Mucinex is one of RB's health brands.

Reckitt Benckiser divides its brands into two categories, "health" and "home hygiene."

Some of RB's health products are: Mucinex cold and flu medicine; Gaviscon antacid; Clearasil acne cream; Durex condoms; and Veet hair remover.

The company's well-known home hygiene brands include: Air Wick air fresheners; Lysol cleaners; Calgon water softener; Finish dishwashing products; and Woolite laundry detergent.

7. Conagra: Brands by the bushel

LLANO, TX-SEPT 24, 2015:  Can of Hunt's Manwich Original Sloppy Joe Sauce with buns and skillet of Sloppy Joe Mix.
Warren Price Photography / Shutterstock
Manwich is one of the many, many brands owned by Conagra Brands.

A head-spinning number of iconic brand names are part of the family at Conagra Brands.

It's a Chicago company that got its start 100 years ago as a collection of four Midwestern flour mills.

Next time you're shopping at the supermarket with your cash-back credit card, you'll encounter Conagra products down virtually every food aisle. Conagra is probably already well represented in your fridge and pantry.

Conagra's brands

Alameda, CA - December 23, 2017: Cans of Reddi wip dairy whipped toppings. Reddi-Wip is a brand of nitrous oxide propelled, sweetened whipped cream produced by ConAgra Foods.
Sheila Fitzgerald / Shutterstock
Reddi-wip dessert toppings are made by Conagra Brands.

Here are some highlights from Conagra's colossal lineup of brands, broken into several categories:

  • Bread spreads and oils: Blue Bonnet, Earth Balance, Fleischmann's, Gulden's mustard, Pam, Parkay, Peter Pan peanut butter, Smart Balance, Wesson

  • Canned foods: Chef Boyardee, Hunt's tomato products, La Choy, Libby's canned meats, Manwich, Rosarita, Ro-Tel, Van Camp's Pork and Beans, Wolf Brand Chili

  • Frozen foods: Alexia, Banquet, Bertolli, Birds Eye, Celeste Pizza for One, Evol, Healthy Choice, Hungry-Man, Marie Callender's, Mrs. Paul's, P.F. Chang's Home Menu, Van de Kamp's

  • Popcorn: Act II, Angie's Boomchickapop, Crunch 'n Munch, Fiddle Faddle, Jiffy Pop, Orville Redenbacher's, Poppycock

  • Other snack foods: Andy Capp's Hot Fries, David Seeds, Duncan Hines cake mixes, Frontera chips, salsas and sauces, Reddi-wip, Slim Jim, Snack Pack pudding, Snyder of Berlin chips and pretzels, Swiss Miss

  • Salad dressings, sauces and syrups: Aunt Jemima, Log Cabin, Mrs. Butterworth's, Open Pit, Wish-Bone

  • Miscellaneous: Egg Beaters, Gardein, Hebrew National franks, Lender's bagels, Udi's Gluten Free, Vlasic pickles.

8. Diageo: House of spirits

POZNAN, POLAND - NOV 8, 2017: Originated on US Virgin Islands Captain Morgan is a brand of rum produced by Diageo, British multinational alcoholic beverages company headquartered in London
monticello / Shutterstock
Captain Morgan rum is part of the Diageo family.

Diageo is a company that makes happy hour possible.

The London-based distiller is the world's largest producer of spirits, and it's also responsible for one of the world's top beers. The company says its more than 200 brands are enjoyed in over 180 countries.

Diageo was founded in 1997 but its roots go way back to the 1600s, and its history includes the real-life people named John(nie) Walker, Tanqueray and Smirnoff.

Diageo's brands

Thailand, Pattaya : Pint of beer served at Guinness Brewery on September 18, 2016 in Pattaya.
Waraporn Chokchaiworarat / Shutterstock
Diageo owns a few beer brands, including Guinness.

If you like the hard stuff, you've likely tossed back a Diageo product.

Its huge roster of brands includes: Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal and J&B whisky; Smirnoff and Ketel One vodka; Gordon's, Tanqueray and Gilbey's gin; Captain Morgan rum; Don Julio tequila; and Baileys liqueur.

If you prefer beer, Diageo keeps the Guinness stout flowing at bars worldwide, and it has a few other more local brews, such as the Kenyan beer Senator Keg.

9. Roark Capital: Fast food, pet food and more

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Aug 16, 2017: Exterior of Arbys Restaurant location. Arbys is a chain restaurant that serves quick-service fast-food sandwiches at over 3000 locations.
Helen89 / Shutterstock
Arby's is one of many chains owned by Roark Capital Group.

Atlanta-based Roark Capital Group takes its name from the lead character in the Ayn Rand novel The Fountainhead.

The company says Howard Roark exemplifies independence and integrity — qualities that inspire the firm's investment style.

Roark Capital is a leading owner of familiar franchises that you encounter every day. It says the brands in its hefty portfolio have 36,000 locations and operate in all 50 states and 81 countries.

Roark's brands

Laguna Niguel, CA / USA - 10/29/2018: Massage Envy Spa Location
Arne Beruldsen / Shutterstock

Roark and its affiliates are the majority owners of no fewer than 25 food and restaurant brands — something for every taste.

They include Arby's, Auntie Anne's Pretzels, Buffalo Wild Wings, Carl's Jr, Carvel Ice Cream, Cinnabon, Corner Bakery, Hardee's, Il Fornaio, Jamba Juice, Jimmy John's, Miller's Ale House, Moe's Southwest Grill, Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill, Rusty Taco, Sonic and Schlotzsky’s.

Roark also is the parent company of the Pet Supermarket and Pet Valu stores, plus these other chains: Batteries Plus Bulbs; MAACO and Meineke auto repair shops; Anytime Fitness and Orangetheory Fitness; Great Expressions Dental Centers; and Massage Envy.

10. Mars: Candy and much more

Tambov, Russian Federation - August 26, 2012: M&M's candy on M&M's brand. M&M's  produced by Mars, Incorporated.
Ekaterina_Minaeva / Shutterstock
Mars may be best known for its candy, including M&M's.

Chances are, your favorite treats are made by Mars — and maybe your pet's favorites, too.

The company is based in Washington, D.C.'s Virginia suburbs and made its name in candy and gum, so when you think of Mars you might first think of Mars chocolate bars.

Ironically, those are no longer widely available in the U.S. But you do find many, many other Mars sweets, pet products and food brands.

Mars' brands

POZNAN, POLAND - FEB 21, 2018: Whiskas products,  global brand of cat food produced by the American company Mars, Inc., available as meat-like pieces in cans, pouches, or dry biscuits
monticello / Shutterstock
Mars also owns a number of pet food brands, including Whiskas.

You see many of Mars most popular brands at the checkout: Life Savers; M&M's; Altoids; Skittles; Wrigley's Spearmint, Juicy Fruit, Eclipse and Big Red gum; Snickers, Milky Way, Twix and 3 Musketeers candy bars.

Elsewhere in the grocery store, Mars is the company behind Uncle Ben's rices; and Seeds of Change and Tasty Bite rices and sauces.

As for pet food, Mars says three of its brands are among the top sellers worldwide: Pedigree, Whiskas and Royal Canin. It also makes Nutro, Greenies, Sheba, Cesar, Iams and Eukanuba pet products.

11. Darden Restaurants: Dinner is served

Columbus,OH/U.S.A. - July 24,2017: The exterior of an Olive Garden restaurant, showing the Olive Garden sign and logo.
Eric Glenn / Shutterstock
Olive Garden is owned by Darden Restaurants.

What's for dinner? If you're going out tonight, you could very well be dining with Darden Restaurants.

Darden — headquartered in Orlando, Florida — is considered the world's largest full-service restaurant company.

It boasts more than 1,700 places to eat that serve nearly 390 million guests every year.

Darden's brands

LAS VEGAS, NV/USA   JAN 17 2015: Capital Grill restaurant on the Vegas strip
Dan Kosmayer / Shutterstock
Capital Grill is one of Darden's upscale brands.

Darden operates both fine dining establishments and more casual sit-down restaurants.

The company's upscale chains include Eddie V's Prime Seafood and The Capital Grille. Then there's Seasons 52, which is called "polished casual" — not too fancy, but not too casual either.

Don't feel like dressing up? Darden has these more everyday restaurant brands: Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Yard House and Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen.