Sunday, April 10, 2016

Messers Natural.

I have said many times that you will see the F bomb on a label for Kashi cereal before you see the word Kellogg's, and yet Kellogg's has owned Kashi since 2000. There's a lot of that kind of thing about these days.

Cascadian Farm is a pleasant little farm in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State, as we know; despite being small and wholesome and organic, it can somehow put cereal and cereal bars and frozen vegetables and all kinds of stuff in every supermarket in America.

They work very hard.
It is part of a group called Small Planet Foods, but they're just small outfits dedicated to healthy eating. Like Muir Glen -- see? Like naturalist John Muir? He probably founded Muir Glen!

Muir Glen and these other companies (Larabar, Food Should Taste Good) are owned by corporate giant General Mills.

It's funny; when French food titan Unilever bought Ben & Jerry's in 2000, environmental types ran around with their skirts up over the heads, fearful that the fearsome French would turn the hippie ice cream fat-dispensing company into horrible Breyer's or some other stupid brand that exists to make money. Ben & Jerry's wasn't about making money! It was about making a difference!

They needn't have feared; Ben & Jerry's continued to affect its tie-dyed pose while bringing in about $350 million in 2015.

Sorry to burst your bubble, organic lifestyle fans. General Mills also owns Annie's Naturals. Kraft owns Back to Nature. Coke owns Odwalla and Honest Tea. Clorox owns Burt's Bees. Mars owns Seeds of Change. Hershey's owns Sharffen Berger. Colgate Palmolive owns Tom's of Maine. Pepsi owns Naked Juice and through Frito Lay's, Miss Vickie's. MillerCoors owns Blue Moon. Anheuser-Busch owns Goose Island, Bass, Boddington's, Wild Blue, Hoegaarden....

The Burt's Bees one surprised me, I have to admit.

It doesn't bother me much that these big corporations are wearing the mask of small artisan organic friend-to-the-little-guy outfits like the genuine Bob's Red Mill. I think they're playing us for suckers, sure, but at least they know how to make the food and get it to the consumer. I suppose it's heartbreaking for many that Danone owns Stonyfield Farm. I don't lose any sleep over it.

In the 1960's and 1970's, corporate diversification philosophy demanded that the corporations get into every possible industry, I guess so that they'd have somewhere to land if their core business went belly-up. Westinghouse bought a toy company and a 7up bottler. CBS owned the Yankees. Hasbro owned a line of Galloping Gourmet cookware, for goodness sake. If this had continued, Ben & Jerry's would probably be owned by General Motors now. Boeing would own Burt's Bees. ConocoPhillips would own Annie's Naturals. So it could be worse, kids.

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