Agri-business News USDA Organic Seal

Published on August 29th, 2009 | by John Chappell

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Who Owns Your Favorite Organic or Natural Food Company?

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The popularity of organic foods in the last few years has been as well documented as it was explosive. As the growth and popularity of organic and natural foods increased, large agri-business and giant food producers became extremely interested in increasing their market share by acquiring smaller organic food companies.

With all the acquisitions that have taken place over the last few years, do you know who owns your favorite organic foods company? I sure don’t.  Between large companies engulfing smaller organic food producers, and large agri-business developing “strategic alliances” with once independent companies, it’s hard to know if the little local tofu producer is still just that, or part of a behemoth entity that you thought you were avoiding.

An Assistant Professor at Michigan State published a series of flow charts, as part of a larger report on the organics food industry, that shows the Organic Industry structure and how recent acquisitions have changed over the last decade.  You can see the flowchart here of the Acquisitions by the Top 30 Food Producers in North America and read the full report here.

There are additional charts as well that show everything from organic product lines from large food producers, acquisitions and introductions of products by organic companies, and major independent companies and their brands.  The information is well laid out and the flowchart format creates a neat, concise format for understanding more about the structure of the food industry.

Did you know that Kellogg Company owns Kashi and Morningstar Farms? or that Kraft foods owns the Boca family of burgers?   Even though the flowchart is only through 2007, it illustrates all the consolidation that has occurred within in the food processing industry in the United States.  You may know already know about the ownership of some of the companies listed on the chart, but when deciding what to do with your food dollars, too much information is never a bad thing.

For more stories on the food industry, read about Egypt Banning GMO’s or High Fructose Corn Syrup Often Contains Mercury.

Photo credit: Public Domain on Wikipedia Commons.


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About the Author

I'm 33, and a Southern Californian by birth and outlook, but recently relocated to the upper Midwest. You can label me an organic farmer trapped in an accountants brain and body, an enthusiastic yet novice urban homesteader, and a vocal supporter of all things organic, local, wholesome, and old-school.



3 Responses to Who Owns Your Favorite Organic or Natural Food Company?

  1. Marie Watson says:

    Lots of info. on who owns what, but what products are true organic? H.E.B.’s “Central Market” is real organic or just a label for more expesive products?. I can’t find any information on the real organic market. What about Silk Organic Soy? Is true organic or I’m paying a premium for nothing? I’ll appreciate comments and info in this very important matter

  2. Thanks for this. I saw an article about the study and thought it was nuts but you have done a terrific job at pointing that out.

  3. harmanjot says:

    Absolutely correct, see our tweets on this issue

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