A company such as Monsanto ( MON), which makes hybrid corn seed, could be used for the planting process and chemicals to protect crops made by DuPont ( DD) (which also produces hybrid seed), may have been applied as well. The farmer and his employees use Deere ( DE) equipment to harvest their crop and get them ready for shipping. As the product is shipped -- which requires more jobs -- and spread across the nation to many different buyers, it ultimately ends up on your plate at the restaurant. This is just for the corn. Steak is similar. A cattle farmer slaughtered, or sold for slaughtering, his cow, which went to a processing plant and ultimately ended up packaged in a freezer truck on its way to the local eatery. Who made that Octoberfest beer? What about the plate and silverware? Don't forget about the waitress that brought your food from the cook in the kitchen, or the Food and Drug Administration employee who tested the meat. See what I mean? The trickle-down effect is incredible and can be applied to just about everything we eat. Including Wal-Mart ( WMT), 11 of the top-50 U.S. employers are food-based. This does not include companies such as Walgreen ( WAG), CVS Caremark ( CVS), or Target ( TGT), although the three of these do sell food. Those 11 companies accounted for 4.33 million of the 11.52 million jobs from the top-50 largest employers. In other words, while only 22% of the list was comprised of food companies, they still accounted for over 37% of the total jobs. In a separate study, full-service restaurants, limited-service eating places and grocery stores made up three of the top six industries with the largest employment (ranked second, fourth and sixth, respectively). The money that's in the food industry is enormous. It's estimated that in 2012, U.S. consumers alone spent nearly $1.8 trillion dollars on food.
To turn sustainability into profitability, companies need to make major transformations, not minor moves, says Freya Williams, author of 'Green Giants: How Smart Companies Turn Sustainability into Billion-Dollar Businesses.'