Saturday, September 12, 2009

Beware of Natural Brands owned by Big Business

I found an interesting little article here on OCA by Andrea Whitfill that identifies a lot of 'natural' brands that are now owned by giant megacorporations. Important because many of us spend extra money on this stuff thinking we are helping some nice socially responsible business owner. I don't really buy any of this stuff except Burt's Bees once in a while (gee I kinda wondered how they managed to score Target).

So anyway here they are (drumroll please...)

Burts Bees - Clorox
Toms of Maine - Colgate-Palmolive
Ben & Jerry's - Unilever
Stonyfield Farm Dairy - Danone (big French outfit that had to recall yogurt because it contained unsafe levels of dioxin)
Horizon Organic Milk - Dean Foods (Largest dairy company in the US)
Odwalla Juice - Coca Cola
Naked Juice - Pepsi
Kashi - Kelloggs
Back to Nature - Kraft
Cascadian Farms - General Mills
Barbara's Bakery - Weetabix
Mother's - Quaker Oats (owned by Pepsi)
Health Valley/Arrowhead Mills - Hain - HJ Heinz owns 16% of Hain
Green & Black Organic Chocolate - Schweppes
Dagoba Chocolate - Hersheys

Bottled Water - according to Whitfill "The industry is dominated by three companies, who together control more than half the market: Coca-Cola, which produces Dasani; Pepsi, which produces Aquafina; and Nestle, which produces several "local" brands, including Poland Spring, Arrowhead, Deer Park, Ozarka and Calistoga. Both Coke and Pepsi exclusively use tap water for their sources, while Nestle uses tap water in some brands. "

Food for more reason to buy locally and do more mail order from privately owned businesses.

On a personal note, I originally thought I'd have to trek to Whole Foods for organically grown produce but I found a local outfit called Raisin Rack (they only own 2 stores) that actually has excellent produce prices. I've never been a big fan of Whole Foods (my local Trader Joes calls it 'Whole Paycheck' ) so it's kind of a relief. It fits into the whole 'buy locally' paradigm. Next on the list is checking out some cool farmer's markets, yee haw!

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