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How Walmart is Devouring the Food System (Infographic)

| Written by Stacy Mitchell | 16 Comments | Updated on Dec 1, 2012 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

Walmart now captures $1 of every $4 Americans spend on groceries. It’s on track to claim one-third of food sales within five years. Here’s a look at how Walmart has dramatically altered the food system — triggering massive consolidation, driving down prices to farmers, and leaving more families struggling to afford healthy food.

This infographic was also published on Grist and Huffington Post.  Click to enlarge.

Infographic: Walmart is Taking Over the Food System

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About Stacy Mitchell

Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and directs its Community-Scaled Economy Initiative, which produces research and analysis, and partners with a range of allies to design and implement policies that curb economic consolidation and strengthen community-rooted enterprise.  She is the author of Big-Box Swindle and also produces a popular monthly newsletter, the Hometown Advantage Bulletin.  Connect with her on twitter and catch her TEDx Talk: Why We Can’t Shop Our Way to a Better Economy.


Contact Stacy   |   View all articles by Stacy Mitchell

  • Thanks for this very informative — if not upsetting — graphic. We are in agreement, that unless and until we disempower monopoly capitalism, the nation’s economic, political, and environmental health will continue to decline.

  • Mary Anne

    since milk and other farm products are paid a subsidy by the Federal government, how can you show the true “cost” without mentioning it??

  • Mary Anne,

    I think you misunderstand Federal Milk Marketing Orders. There is no subsidy for milk, but the federal government does set a minimum floor price that dairy processors must pay for raw milk they buy from farmers. This makes good sense because there isn’t really a competitive market. Milk is bulky and expensive to ship, so farmers generally have to sell to the nearest milk plant. They are largely captive, if you will. The government sets a floor price so they are not underpaid.

    The government-set floor price for class 1 fluid milk averaged $11.92 between 1995-2000. It averaged $10.87 between 2005-2010 (adjusted for inflation). So, as you can see, farmers have been losing ground, while consumers are paying more. Supermarket chains and dairy processors are pocketing the difference.


  • Vinz

    Thank you Stacy for the infograph, could you please provide us with more information about Amazon, as you stated in your first comment that such company accounts for over a third of everything we buy. If you could explain us a bit further.

    Muchly appreciated.

  • Elizabeth

    The minimum floor price for milk does not completely cover the cost and a living wage for dairy farmers in my area. Different parts of the country have different circumstances and the governments’ “one size fits all” pricing is forcing many dairy farmers in my area (upstate NY)out of business. Thanks for your very helpful information.