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Organic Food Brands and Their Corporate Ties

Who Owns Organic Food Brands?

When buying organic and natural-food brands, such as Kashi and Naked Juice, you may think you're supporting small, independent companies. But often these brands are actually owned by major conglomerates: Kellogg, in the case of Kashi, and Pepsi for Naked Juice.

I was excited to find this very cool chart in the latest issue of Good magazine, which breaks down most of the major natural brands by their corporate owners. For the details,


Some of these definitely did not surprise me: I figured that Morningstar Farms had a corporate owner, and I've read before that Muir Glen is owned by General Mills. However, I had no idea that the Heinz subsidiary Hain Celestial owned so many small companies! Westsoy, Casbah, Shariann's, and more. Check out the entire chart here.

I'm not suggesting you should avoid these brands just because they have corporate owners. But it might help you decide where to put your money if there are certain companies whose policies you disagree with. I'm curious, does corporate ownership affect your buying habits?


Join The Conversation
macastat macastat 9 years
Goodness, what a nice piece of info. I've been proclaiming this concept on every mountain top I can find. Who owns your the food companies they push at us? Who has sold out? Who is exploiting our desire for healthy, organic food? Our company, Sibby's Homestead Organic Ice Cream, is 100% owned by Sibby, a real person. She makes all the ice cream with love and hopeful heart. And her pledge... she will NEVER sell out! More at Thanks for letting me rant a bit. -Tony (a real person, not owned by the corporados)
nikkipez nikkipez 9 years
ChicaCity ChicaCity 9 years
the book "the omnivore's dilemma" by michael pollan does a great job of breaking down organic foods into "industrial organic" and the organic movement - both practices have widely different ethical and moral standards. it's a shocker but something everyone who is interested in what they are consuming should be aware of.
sugarcubicle sugarcubicle 9 years
Some companies, such as Burts Bees (owned by clorox) run independently, as if they were still a small company. As consumers, one would hope their presence would influence some practices of other brands in their corporation... someday.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
I have to agree with what was said on the "Serious Eats" website unless you can point out why this actually matters and whether its had a direct or indirect effect on the quality of the product produced under the organic label then it does not matter who owns the product line. If anything a big company owning a small single product organic food company helps the small company and the consumer by helping the small company maintain their standards for production and increasing their market presences by using the marketing and legal resources of the large company.
eloise81 eloise81 9 years
There are certain companies that I do tend to avoid - I do not like to buy Kraft and I do like to stay away from General Mills for the most part. I am a little shocked by how many companies Heinz has under their umbrella. It will definitely make me think twice about what I buy. Then again, I've bought bear naked since it was literally just two people making it, so I don't think twice about continuing to purchase it.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I've worked in the food industry for a while, so I know kind of how it all works. Basically, most companies out there have several brands that they manufacture. The brand name is mostly there for the recognition for marketing purposes. Lots of food companies out there do look for small, independent companies to buy so that they can have more products to offer. Most companies that produce your favorite brand-name things (like, say for example Kraft Mac and Cheese) also make the generic or storebrand varieties as well. This is why I ALWAYS buy generic stuff because it's essentially the same thing as brand name. But since the majority of my food isn't really brand name...I buy mostly fruits, veggies, milk, eggs, meat, etc., I don't pay much attention to it. I DO like to support small companies though...I buy only fair-trade coffee and I prefer to support small local companies vs. huge corporations. I especially have issues with Kraft because their food is just so gross and they target kids like crazy in their advertising. They make Lunchables (which, IMHO, don't even qualify as actual food), Kraft mac and cheese (empty calories at their finest), Oscar Mayer lunchmeats, and the like. Their food is full of trans fat and sodium and putting that into your kids' bodies is just horrible.
JudyRie JudyRie 9 years
Well, if the big companies can keep the small practices, and stay true to the original goals, okay. I doubt that's happening though. I try to avoid Nestle, because of the Nestle boycott that's now been going on forever. (Is it still active? Doing any good?) I've heard some bad things about Horizon Organic, so I try to go for Stonyfield Farms. But honestly, I think if you can't buy local organics (and how many of us can), it takes more time and energy to research it and keep track of it all than I can do.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
that's a great chart. i remember seeing something on the FOOD NETWORK about some of the smaller organic companies and how they were offered a buyout by larger companies such as kraft etc. it's great for them, and i guess if the large companies keep the good practicies of the start-ups - then it's ok..right?
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