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The Certified Organic Associations of BC provides support for this site: encouraging organic and alternative food production in Canada by improving accessibility to organic farming content online.
Phil Howard, author of these charts, is assistant professor at Michigan State University's Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies. Original material in this website may be reproduced in any form without permission on condition that it is accredited to Cyber-Help for Organic Farmers, with a link back to this site or, in the case of printed material, a clear indication of the site URL. Since the popularity of the green movement has grown, there are now literally thousands of food brands on the market today that claim to be organic and wholesome.
Because the FDA standards are lax in the organic food brands area, there are some companies and even farmers who are a part of associations that set stricter guidelines for the requirement of actual organic foods. Many of the products you may trust and respect for their independence and social responsibility are now owned by big corporations that are going out of their way to hide their link to the small, socially responsible brands. Tom's of Maine is owned by Colgate-Palmolive, a massive company with a revenue of approximately $11.4 billion. Kashi cereals was bought in July 2000 by Kellogg's, the 12th-largest company in North American food sales (but if you look at a box of Kashi's "Go Lean Crunch", for example, you will find not one mention of the fact that Kellogg's owns them.) Kraft Foods bought the natural cereal maker Back to Nature.
Green and Black's organic chocolate was taken over in 2005 by Schweppes, the 10th-largest company in North American packaged-food sales.
Marketing strategies have been fooling you, convincing you to trust that the niche brands continue to be small, environmentally conscious businesses with ecologically sound practices.
For those of you still under the assumption that your Horizon organic milk, your Kashi crackers or your Green and Black’s chocolate was being churned out by a small farm or mom-and-pop shop nestled in a pristine valley, brace yourself for disappointment. Unfortunately, when multinational corporations create or purchase these natural health companies, they are looking to maximize their profits by turning out the largest amount of product for the least expense. And what you, the consumer, are left with is the misguided impression that you’re spending your hard-earned money on a product that adheres to a certain set of values, which have likely long since perished in the wake of corporate strategies. The Power of an IdeaOn the positive side, this trend is a clear sign that when you speak with your pocketbook and start demanding healthier food choices, America’s largest corporations have no practical economic choice but to respond. With the involvement of large corporations, organic food has turned into a $16-billion business, with sales growing by as much as 20 percent per year. So whereas many people are now getting the core message that organic is far healthier for you, they don’t stop long enough to make a distinction between raw organic food and processed food that contains organic ingredients. Additionally, a significant element of the organic ideal is environmental sustainability and protection, but at least one study has found that the transportation of organic produce causes an environmental impact large enough to cancel out any of its environmental benefits. Phil Howard, an assistant professor of Community, Agriculture, and Recreation and Resource studies at Michigan State University, put together this revealing chart below, which shows the significant acquisitions and introductions of organic brands by major food corporations, as of January 2008. The unfortunate result of all this big business wheeling and dealing in organics, and acquiring small but popular organic brands is that you now have to be very wary when you see the term “organic,” as it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s any better for either you or the environment. There’s Something Even Better Than OrganicPersonally, I’m not surprised at this development; it was bound to happen. It’s mainly a matter of knowing where to find locally harvested organic foods and buying from sources you want to see thrive.

One look highlights the extent of corporate ownership and involvement in the organic food sector in the United States. Howard first created his organic food industry chart in 2002, when the USDA’s organic food labeling standards were first implemented and the organic grocery sector really began taking off.
It may be shocking to you, but a large number of organic food companies are actually owned by mega corporations such as Pepsi and Kraft. Chobani-brand Greek yogurt can no longer live up to Whole Foods’ high standards, the Wall Street Journal reports. Click here to read chart author Phil Howard's comments and discussion in our forum - and make your own comment.
One of those companies is the healthy living chain Whole Foods, who have created a program called the Whole Foods Market’s Quality Standards.
But more recently, Burt's Bees products have appeared everywhere -- in grocery stores, drug stores, and big-box stores like Target and Wal-Mart. Danone, the French conglomerate which also owns Brown Cow, has acquired a majority holding in Stoneyfield -- the same Danone that had to recall large quantities of its yogurt in 2007 after it was found to contain unsafe levels of dioxins. Almost as soon as Coca-Cola bought the company, it stopped selling the fresh-squeezed OJ that had made Odwalla famous and popular -- fresh squeezed can't last the days and weeks the juices are now in transit or on the shelf.
Kraft is a subsidiary of Altria, which also owns Philip Morris, one of the world's largest producers of cigarettes.
The reality is that many of your favorite organic products are owned and operated by the same corporations that make the worst kinds of highly processed junk foods on the market -- soda, potato chips, sugary cereals, candy, etc. What this means for much of America is access to more organic foods at lower prices – which is a great thing.
You still have the power to demand the real deal, and the fact of the matter is; true organic IS better. You also want to read the packaged food labels and not simply take the organic label at face value. To really drive home how much consolidation has occurred in the industry, check out this animated graphic Howard created on organic sector consolidation between 1997 and 2007.
Use of the web site constitues acceptance of the Defy Media Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. These companies carelessly implant genetically modified ingredients into their food products and are environmentally destructive, but their organic food subsidiary companies are often toted as environmentally safe and health conscious. Although care has been taken in preparing the information contained in this web site, Cyber-Help for Organic Farmers does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy thereof. Finding an actual organic food product can be a challenge when shopping in modern America because the FDA has loose guidelines that allow manufacturers to use the words “organic,” “natural,” “all natural” and “healthy” without a product actually being any of those things. Here we take a look at what those standards are and list the top five brands of organic food that qualify.
That’s because Burt's Bees is now owned by Clorox, a massive corporation that has historically cared very little about the environment.

Health Valley and Arrowhead Mills are owned by Hain Celestial Group, a natural food company traded on the NASDAQ, with H.J. It is time to question how much the ownership and neglectful marketing of these "pseudo" responsible brands warrant crossing them off your shopping list. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. In a new chart, Michigan State agriculture professor Phil Howard attempts to answer it by linking 25 major conventional food processors (brands such as Kraft, Con-Agra, Coca-Cola and Hershey Foods) with the organic brands or products that each conglomerate owns. One such example is the Honest Tea company, which is actually owned by the Coca-Cola company. Anyone using the information does so at their own risk and shall be deemed to indemnify Cyber-Help for Organic Farmers, from any and all injury or damage arising from such use. For example if a food product has high fructose corn syrup in it, the guidelines would allow for the use of any of those previous terms if the corn syrup came from a locally grown corn crop even though current research has shown that substance as being neither healthy, natural or organic.
And it is time to find products more in tune with your values -- at least until they, too, get bought out by a large conglomerate. Depending on where you live, finding a local farmer or food coop may seem unrealistic, but just as demand drove the rise of organic, it is driving the demand for locally grown foods. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Perhaps it’s time to see if your favorite organic food company is actually owned by one of these mega companies. You can peruse this list of sustainable agriculture options to find like-minded people in your area who will know how you can connect with local food producers.
It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Already the UK and Europe's number one marketing platform, we are also now covering the USA and Asia.Get the MagazineGet the Magazine -->Delivered every fortnight, The Drum Magazine distils the babble of marketing industry commentary and news into a single intelligible and intelligent package. Also be sure to take advantage of farmer’s markets and roadside stands now as spring and summer approaches.
Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.
If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.

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