Thursday, July 9, 2009

Who owns your favorite organic food brands?

Did you know? Big corporations own many popular organic brands, and they don't really want the consumer to know about it. For example, brands like Back to Nature, Cascadian Farm, and Odwalla are actually owned by Kraft, General Mills, and Coca-Cola. Apparently, since 2002 when the government implemented organic standards, these large companies have been quietly acquiring popular organic brands in a bid to buy the consumer loyalty that comes with these brands -- though they don't want to advertise this, since it could damage the "natural" image that they're paying for. Michigan State University professor Phil Howard created a chart that shows who owns what in the organic food industry.

Jessie drinks Horizon milk and eats Stonyfield Farm yogurt. We eat Kashi cereal. Horizon is owned by Dean Foods, Stonyfield Farm is owned by Danone (Dannon), and Kashi is owned by Kellogg... Not surprisingly, these large corporations are also introducing their own lines of organic products. I've also noticed that supermarket chains like Kroger have introduced their own organic products as well, and interestingly, they don't put them in the organic food section of the store. They put their organic products right next to the regular stuff. Hmm...

For further reading, there are a bunch of articles on the topic of "corporate organic food" on the Cyber-Help For Organic Farmers website.

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