What do you think of when you hear the term ‘Buy British’?
Does it conjure up images of Union Jack, Bulldogs & Iconic Brands?
Brands like HP Sauce, House Of Fraser, Sarsons Vinegar, Branston Pickle, Walkers Crisps, Hartleys Jam, Jaguar, Cadburys, Tetley Tea, Typhoo Tea, Beefeater Gin … Heathrow Airport?
HP is the famous brown sauce of the Houses of Parliament (hence the name). Nevertheless, it is owned by Americans: Heinz purchased it in 2005, and its made in the Netherlands
House of Fraser is owned by the Sanpower Group, a Chinese corporation that bought it this year for £450 million ($716 million). Before that it was owned by the Icelandic group Baugur
What could be more British than Sarsons vinegar on a plate of fish and chips? A Japanese vinegar manufacturer, Mizkan, bought Sarsons in 2012 for £41 million ($66 million). They also bought Branston Pickle last year for £92.5 million ($147 million)
Walker Crisps are 56% of all crisps and popcorn sold in Britain. The brand was bought by PepsiCo back in 1989. (In America, Walkers are called Lays)
Weetabix, the famous breakfast cereal, has been in Chinese hands for two years. Shanghai-based consortium Bright Food bought it in May 2012
Hartley’s Jam was bought by American corporation Hain Celestial in 2012, for £200 million ($320 million)
The car manufacturer Jaguar was bought by India’s Tata in 2008. Before that it was owned by Ford — based in Detroit, Michigan
Manchester United and Queen’s Park Rangers both play in the English Premier League. United is owned by the Glazer family of the US; QPR by Malaysian tycoon Tony Fernandes
A third of the milk drunk in Britain is owned by foreign companies: Wiseman Milk is now part of the German group Müller, which bought it in 2012
Cadbury has a similarly dominant position in the British chocolate market. It was bought by Kraft in 2010 and is now incorporated into Mondelez International, a US company (British law states that everyone must eat a Terry’s Chocolate Orange at Christmas. But Terry’s is also owned by Mondelez, and the orange factory is in Poland)
Tetley Tea has traded on its English heritage for decades. However, it is owned by India’s Tata Global Beverages. Another Indian group owns Typhoo Tea: Apeejay Surrendra bought it in 2005 for £80 million ($127 million).
Newcastle Brown Ale was purchased by Heineken of the Netherlands in 2008. The beer is produced in Yorkshire in the same factory as John Smith’s, also owned by the Dutch
For many people, Beefeater Gin means London and the Tower, but the French group Pernod Ricard has owned it since 1987
Scottish Power has been controlled by the Spanish multi-utility Iberdrola since 2006. nPower was bought by the German provider RWE in 2002.
Thames Water has been owned by the Macquarie Group of Australia, since 2006. Northumbrian Water Group was bought by Chung Kong Infrastructure in 2011.
O2 was bought by Telefònica, a Spanish group, in 2005
EE is the largest mobile network in Britain. It is a joint venture between Deutsche Telekom and Orange SA. (Orange used to be a British company, before it was bought by France Telecom in 2000.)
Even Heathrow Airport is owned by foreigners: a consortium of international investors, lead by the Spanish Grupo Ferrovial, has controlled it since 2006
ASDA is actually a Wal-Mart subsidiary since 1999. The American giant bought it for £6.7 billion ($10.7 billion)
Boots UK is the latest British brand to defect: Walgreens, the biggest pharmacy company in the world, bought it this August for £5.65 billion ($9 billion). It was previously owned by Stefano Pessina, an Italian entrepreneur