17 companies cashing in on your thanksgiving feast

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Pull up a chair and find out what's really behind Thanksgiving dinner.

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17 companies cashing in on your thanksgiving feast

  1. Turkey Americans serve up 46 million turkeys on Thanksgiving Day, and Butterball (mmmm, a ball of butter) is the top seller. The company is a joint venture of Seaboard (NYSE: SEB) and Maxwell Farms. Other turkey producers trotting for your table include Hormel (NYSE: HRL) and (not at all yummy sounding) Cargill.
  2. Stuffing If there’s anything on the table to take a shortcut on, it’s the stuffing (ahem, dressing). Kraft’s (Nasdaq: KRFT) Stovetop stuffing was created by a home economist who patented the size of bread crumbs ideal for rehydration. While Stovetop is the most popular with 60 million boxes sold over the holidays, maybe you prefer Pepperidge Farm -- which is owned by Campbell Soup (NYSE: CPB). Of course, if you’re a glutton for punishment and make it from scratch, chances are you’re using seasonings from McCormick and Company (NYSE: MKC).
  3. Cranberries Nothing says “Thanksgiving at Grandma’s” like the cranberry sauce that emerges from the can perfectly intact. Even if you make it from scratch (show-off), you probably have Ocean Spray to thank. Americans purchase 72 million cans of Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce each holiday season -- or another way to look at it: 10.8 billion individual cranberries.
  4. Mashed potatoes The average American eats 126 pounds of potatoes every year. While you could easily make your own from scratch this Thanksgiving, instant mashed potatoes are yet another example of better living through science. First invented by a Canadian (Canucks celebrate Thanksgiving, too) in 1962, current big names in instant mashed potatoes include Idahoan and Hungry Jack -- which is owned by J.M. Smucker (NYSE: SJM).
  5. Green bean casserole Roughly 40 million green bean casseroles are made every Thanksgiving. While your grandma might keep the recipe a secret, it’s pretty simple: Green beans (probably from General Mills’ (NYSE: GIS) Green Giant), Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, some cream, salt and pepper, and top it with French’s French Fried Onions (owned by AngloDutch multinational Reckitt Benckiser). Voila, instant nostalgia.
  6. Pumpkin pie Thanksgiving is pumpkin pie’s day to shine -Americans eat 675 million of them. Costco (Nasdaq: COST) alone sells 1 million gargantuan pumpkin pies every year and run their bakeries around the clock to keep up with demand. If you’re making your own, you’re probably using Libby canned pumpkin (made by Nestle), which accounts for 85% of the world’s canned pumpkin. And of course it’s got to be topped with Kraft’s Cool Whip.
  7. Booze While we’ve all been told that the tryptophan in turkey is to blame for that food coma, scientists believe alcohol deserves more of the blame. Gallo and Constellation brands are the largest wine sellers in the U.S. while AnheuserBusch InBev (NYSE: BUD) is the leader in beer. If you’re drinking something stronger than that, you’re probably the “fun” uncle at the table.

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