Do you have a favorite food brand that you constantly buy? We all have our go-to, tried and true brands that we stock in our cupboards and pantries. Maybe your favorite brand is a classic like Progresso breadcrumbs or Hunts tomato products. Or perhaps it’s a smaller brand like Alexia Foods or Happy Family Foods.
We all pick the foods we purchase based on different reasons. Some of us decide depending on the price of the food, the ingredients, the nutrient content, or even the company’s mission and values. Take natural food brands for example, they advertise their efforts to only choose natural and wholesome ingredients, maybe they’re organic or don’t contain GMOs. And who doesn’t love the idea of supporting a company that gives back to the community?
Maybe you pick a food brand to avoid another brand whose mission you don’t agree with? You may not purchase the major soda brand because you don’t agree with their negative health effects, so you opt for the all-natural, organic juice company instead. You may think that you’re avoiding the big soda company, but you might actually be purchasing from them anyway. That’s right, the larger food corporations own a number of these smaller natural and organic food companies. To see what we mean, take a look at the list below:
- Odwalla Smoothies and Juices – listed under brands on the Coca-Cola website. Coca-Cola purchased Odwalla in 2001 in an effort to compete with rival company, PepsiCo.
- Vitamin Water – listed under brands on the Coca-Cola website.
- Honest Tea – purchased by Coca-Cola in 2011
- Hunt’s Tomato Products – Hunt’s wears the label 100% natural on the majority of its products. It is listed on ConAgra’s list of brands.
- Alexia Frozen Foods – Alexia Foods also totes the 100% natural label. They are also listed on ConAgra’s list of brands. ConAgra was sued earlier this year when customers questioned the company’s “all-natural” labeling and their use of a chemical to prevent browning in their potato products. The case settled.
- Cascadian Farms Organics
- Food Should Taste Good – This company was acquired by General Mills in 2012 as an addition to it’s Natural Snack Food Business sector. The founder of Food Should Taste Good, Pete Lescoe, continues to act as the company’s creative director.
- Larabar – Larabar is listed under General Mills’ brands on their website. A letter written by Lara, the founder of the acquisition of the company can be found here. The site also states that Larabar remains 100% committed to their values.
- Happy Family Brands – their site states their partnership with Group Danone earlier this year.
- Stonyfield Yogurt – According to a press release on Dannon’s website, Group Danone acquired 40% of Stonyfield Farm in 2001, with Gary Hirshberg remaining as active CEO, chairman, and President. Group Danone currently owns Stonyfield Farm and Gary Hirshberg has since resigned as CEO, but remains an active chairman.
To put these lists in perspective, we wanted to share The Cornucopia Institute’s 2013 Organic Industry Structure chart. Their newly updated chart has grown immensely from their 2008 Organic Industry Structure chart.
Were you aware that these small companies are owned by larger food companies? Will this change your choices the next time you go to the grocery store? Tell us your thoughts below.