Who Owns Your Favorite Organic Food Brands?

January 19, 2010

You may be surprised to find out, I am just warning you now. I wrote a little about this in the past, but I came across a few charts of “Who Owns What” and I figured I would share them with you guys, just in case you didn’t know about this already. Sad to say, there aren’t that many smaller, organic food brands left that haven’t either A. been scooped up by a giant conglomerate or B. gone the way of the dodo. And that’s true for not just food brands, as Burt’s Bees is now owned by Clorox, for example. Sometimes, if you aren’t careful, you just don’t know who you are supporting with your hard-earned dollars. But thanks to one of my favorite magazines, GOOD, and a study by Philip H. Howard titled “Organic Industry Structure“, we can do our homework and spread the word about who owns who in the organic/natural food sector. So let’s take a look at some parent companies and what they own…

KRAFT

Boca Foods
Back to Nature

PEPSI

Naked Juice

GENERAL MILLS

Cascadian Farm
Muir Glen
LaraBar

KELLOG’S

Morningstar Farm
Kashi
Gardenburger
Bear Naked

COCA-COLA

Odwalla
Honest Tea

HEINZ

Earth’s Best
Soy Dream
Rice Dream

HERSHEY

Dagoba Chocolate

M&M/Mars

Dove Organic
Seeds of Change

TYSON

Nature’s Farm

See, it pays to find out who owns (and produces) your favorite food brands. While there are still some great independent brands out there (Clif Bar, Nature’s Path, Amy’s Kitchen, Applegate Farms, to name a few), more and more of the brands I like are being bought out by huge companies who are only interested in profit and looking “green”. Sure, some of them are still doing the right thing and producing high-quality organic goods, but I do often wonder how long that will last. Hopefully the foods I love will stay the same even after being bought by these corporations, but I like knowing I am supporting smaller, independent food companies – and it’s getting harder and harder to do so.

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Filed in: Food • Tags: ,

About the Author:

After a varied past of being a test driver for automotive television programs, a Hollywood studio lackey, and an online media sales director, David is now the publisher and editor of The Good Human. In his spare time he rides motorcycles, drinks good beer, and builds stuff in the garage. You can follow him on Twitter at @thegoodhuman or G+ at Google
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Comments (14)

  1. surviving and thriving on pennies says:

    Wow, an eye opener even for me. Gonna have to rethink my purchases once again. Thank you!

  2. Holly says:

    Thanks…this is the kind of info people need. Money talks!

  3. Michelle says:

    Thanks David. I have an article in the works for my newsletter list, on this same topic. Note as well, that Tom’s of Maine is owned by Colgate-Palmolive.

    Support local, independent businesses!

    Michelle

    • david says:

      Yea, the list could go on and on. I dont support the Sierra Club anymore because they endorse Clorox products. It never ends. :)

  4. We are suing Pepsi, a.k.a Whitman Corp. (see our website: http://www.earthspeak.org) Pepsi used to own Hain and Celestial Seasonings, LIttle Bear, Arrowhead Mills, etc. Someone tweeted me that this is no longer true. Have you looked into these companies lately?

  5. Melissa says:

    This article prompted me to see who owned my favorite Nantucket Nectars juices. Sadly, they were purchased by Cadbury-Schweppes in 2002.

  6. Rene says:

    Oh I’m so heartbroken. I knew about some of them but not all of them, like Odwalla. Bummer dude!

    In a way, I guess being bought up by the behemoths is kinda good. When I turned vegetarian back in 1989, you couldn’t find natural foods in mainstream markets anywhere.

    Today as i travel the country it’s much easier for me to get a Boca burger pack at a regular old store in cowtown USA, which makes my life easier. But I just hope I’m not eating the same kinda crap that huge companies like Kraft put in their conventional products.

    This just means that I need to get back to basics and start making my own veggie burgers again, for starters. Squeezing my own juice is probably next.

    Great article, thanks!

  7. pusserboots says:

    My favorite organic brands are all locally produced. They have addresses I can drive to if I want to see them in person.

  8. Samantha says:

    Really interesting. Thank you for posting this info. It’s scary to think what direction our organic industry is heading if all these company’s are “selling out”

  9. Chris Dine says:

    Organic advocates want organic to grow…which it does when big co’s buy small brands and put them on major markets. Is corporate ownership always a bad thing, if the small one isn’t compromised and reaches new markets, necessitating more organic acreage? Are all these companies selling out, or up? Are they converting new consumers to organic? Likely so.

    For a while, I lived in a town with only mass chain grocery stores and the only organic brands there were corporate owned. I was glad to have those options, at least, versus non-organic food. the only independent brands there were Clif, Organic Valley and Eden….limited.

  10. Josh says:

    @Chris Dine

    I always consider this counter argument as well. Isn’t the driving force of the organic movement to see organic become the mainstream. Shouldn’t there be some celebration in the fact that organic products have become viable enough for these corporations to regard them as a necessary investment.

    Mass marketed organics also create a larger market for small organic farmers to pool into.

    All in all, I’m not a fan of corporations and multinational conglomerates for many other reasons, but it’s not that black and white.

  11. Josh says:

    I’d also like to add: Stay Diligent.

    Corporations have been known to cut corners. Unless otherwise noted, there’s a good chance some ingredients may be GMO. Keep reading your labels. Check out the ingredient list on a box of Boca burgers and you’ll see what I mean.

    Don’t fall prey to the marketing game.

  12. bjk says:

    I never thought of who made these. I was just looking at the labels.