> Isn't the total variety of offerings more important than than variety of companies?
Nope. Imagine, as a nonsensical example, that Coca-Cola decided to put pesticides in all their products. Quick, which drinks do you avoid?
It may not be such a nonsensical example. We saw a very similar thing last year, when cat and dog food started causing renal failure in pets. It turns out that the majority of the pet food brands you find in the grocery store-- even the cheap, knock-off brands-- are manufactured by a tiny handful of companies, most of which all sourced their wheat from the same Chinese company.
As a result, it took weeks to nail down every brand that could kill your pet, and more affected brands were cropping up every day. We ended up switching to a "whitelisted" brand during the fiasco, which did not set well with our dog's delicate constitution.
Even the retailers could not (or would not) keep up. We saw known-affected brands sitting on shelves at Wal-Mart and the local grocer throughout this fiasco.
I'm still not sure I understand. While most of those companies are owned by "The big three" they act as independent companies.
Even if this is something to be worried about, I'm not sure there is anything that could/should be done about it. People like these brands and the products they make and thats why the sell 80% of all soda.
Maybe we should be cognizant of the fact, and it is possible that is all you were saying, but anything beyond that I'm not sure is a good idea.
There was an article a while ago about the Coca-Cola company putting pressure on one of these "independent" companies to change it's labeling. They wanted to say "zero high fructose corn syrup" or some such which Coca-Cola management thought was a bad idea. If they had been truly independent then the conversation over packaging would have not come up.
Anyway, the value of independent organizations is bad ideas are less likely to propagate between them.