What do Coca-Cola, Kellogg and Dean Foods have in common, besides being marketers of some of the most popular food items found on grocery shelves? They all own organic brands.
And they are not alone. Most of the top 25 food producers own one or more organic brands and are rapidly developing their own.
Here’s a short list of some of the most popular organic brands and their corporate parents :
Odwalla (Coca Cola)
Morningstar ( Kellogg)
Horizon (Dean Foods)
Boca Foods ( Kraft)
Earth’s Best (Heinz)
Cascadian Farms (General Mills)
Naked Juice (Pepsi)
We shouldn’t be surprised, after all, once these products appeared in our local grocery store, we should have known. But, it is worth raising the question: how big is still green?
Dr. Phil Howard, Assistant Professor at Michigan State University, concludes recent trends in organic food have both positive and negative effects:
On the positive side more and more of our foods are healthier for us, as more and more become certified organic. The USDA standards for organic prohibit genetically engineered and irradiated ingredients and synthetic pesticides. The volume purchasing power of these large corporations has also helped bring down the average cost of organic foods and increased their availability.
On the flip side, rather than rotating crops, major food manufacturers tend to plant a single item, then farm in on an industrial scale using trucked in organic fertilizer. Then harvested product is processed, packaged and shipped all over the world increasing fossil fuel consumption and packaging waste.
So, is it a wash? Should we be concerned about the industrialization of organic foods or should we applaud the fact that our food supply is becoming healthier? Dr. Howard thinks both.
As the industry evolves, we must address concentration in the industry, where food comes from, how far it travels and by what means, packaging and waste, a living wage for farm workers, preserving farmland and keeping farmers on the land, and continuing to be the front line for sustainability.
The success of organic, is a striking reminder that we have the power to influence the way food is grown, processed and distributed. Those who continue to fight for the ideals of the original organic movement should feel optimistic about achieving these goals in the future.
Read more about this topic at: PCC Sound Consumer.
See organic brands owned by the top 25 Food Producers here.