I just checked out this website talking about the structure of the various businesses that might be collectively called the organic food industry (http://www.msu.edu/%7Ehowardp/organicindustry.html). Here’s what I think.
A lot of us natural food people can agree with the idea that your vote with your dollars. I, for one, don’t want to buy a 12 pack of cola not only because of it’s terribly health effects, but also because I think it is fundamentally wrong for the company to be profiting off of junk food. It’s criminal.
So by being educated about who is making your supposedly healthy foods, you can use your dollars more effectively and fund the people doing the right things.
Kraft foods owns Boca burgers. Nestle owns Tribe. Pepsi owns Naked Juice. Coke owns Odwalla. Kellogg owns Kashi. Heinz owns Celestial Seasonings teas, Rice Dream, Soy Dream, Spectrum organics. Danon owns Stonyfield Farms. The list goes on and on.
Though it may be unfair to be suspicious of multinational corporations just because they are multinatural corporations, let us not forget the history of how these same companies brought us into the disastrous world of processed foods we currently live in. Can we really trust these brands to pull us out?
Personally, I eat a very limited number of processed foods. Aside from the occasional jar of organic peanut butter or cheese, everything I eat comes as a whole food. This is ideal, but not easy for everyone to achieve.
So for those who looking for a better alternative, here are some major independent organic food companies that cannot be associated with the rise of unhealthy processed foods. Clif Bar (and Luna), Organic Valley, Eden Foods, Applegate Farms, Pacific Natural Foods, Newman’s Own Organics, Golden Temple (Peace Cereal, Yogi Tea), and others. Some of the companies are even cooperatives, including Frontier Natural Products (Simply Organic), Alvarado Street Bakery, Equal Exchange, and Organic Valley.
In lieu of the fact that more and more organic labels are going to hit the store shelves every year, I think we need to be especially conscious of whether these apparently healthy foods are really serving our interest or someone else’s. With this information, you can get a better idea of who is on your side in the grocery store.