Now more than ever, consumers are seeking products that are healthy, organic, all-natural, and ethically sound. This positive shift is largely tied to the spread of knowledge. People are now willing to pay a little more for trusted brands with high-quality ingredients.
The downside is that big businesses are looking to make their cut of the profits, leading to a huge industry secret. Many of the wholesome niche companies we trust and enjoy have been quietly bought out by huge corporations that may not carry the same standards we rely on. Once small-scale independent brands are now owned and operated by parent companies like General Mills, Perdue or Coco-Cola.
When a big company purchases a product line, the first thing they do is adjust the formula to make it easier and cheaper to mass-produce. Not only that, but they tend to be quiet about the change, banking on your invested trust in these natural brands. Let’s look at a few examples.
Annie’s Homegrown – General Mills
Families have come to trust Annie’s Homegrown as an organic, GMO-free source of mac and cheese and bunny-sharped crackers. They might be surprised to learn the company was sold to General Mills in 2014.
Honest Tea – Coca-Cola
Just like the name, Honest Tea boasts a tasty organic beverage with a commitment to honesty and integrity. But did you know that 40% of the company is owned by Coca-Cola?
Applegate Farms – Hormel
Since its debut, organic consumers have reached for Applegate as a healthier, more trusted option. These preservative and antibiotic-free hotdogs, sausages, and deli meat are actually produced by parent company Hormel—maker of Spam.
Naked Juice – Pepsi
When you reach for Naked Juice, you probably imagine you are making a healthy, wholesome choice. The packaging boasts generous servings of fresh fruits and vegetables in every serving. However, since its sale to PepsiCo in 2006, the brand has gained negative attention for its misleading “all-natural” labeling.
Bear Naked – Kellogg’s
You likely know Bear Naked as the minimalist granola company founded by two high-school friends. Yet, this small-batch cereal has been mass-produced since its sale to Kellogg’s 2007.
Coleman Natural – Perdue
The country’s most trusted brand of organic chicken, Coleman Natural, is actually owned by Perdue. You may have seen Perdue in the news associated with animal welfare concerns and excessive antibiotic use.
Alexia Foods – ConAgra
Alexia Foods is well known for producing frozen potato products like sweet potato fries that are all-natural and free of GMO’s or Trans Fat. What the label doesn’t tell you is that this brand was purchased by ConAgra in 2007.
Green & Blacks – Kraft
Green & Black’s, the brand known for gourmet, ethically sourced, organic chocolate, was first sold to Cadbury in 2005. It has since changed hands to a subsidiary of Kraft called Mondelez.
Bolthouse Farms – Campbell’s
Much like Odwalla, Bolthouse Farms has a reputation for providing nutrition-packed beverages. They are quickly recognized in health food stores across the country. Similarly, these juices have become more sugar-packed since the company was sold to Campbell’s (the soup company) in 2012.
Horizon Organics - WhiteWave Foods
One of the biggest names in organic dairy, Horizon Organics is a common go-to. The company is now owned by WhiteWave Foods—a subsidiary of Danone (producer of Dannon yogurt). The company also owns Stonyfield Organic and Earthbound Farm.
Here are a few more companies you may recognize, listed with their surprising parent company:
- Cascadian Farm - General Mills
- Dagoba Chocolate - Hershey's
- Goose Island Brewery - Anheuser-Bush
- Lara Bar- General Mills
- Kashi- Kellogg’s
- Silk - Dean Foods
- Odwalla - Coca-Cola Company
- Epic Provisions- General Mills
- RxBar- General Mills
- Snack Factory- Campbell's
- Skinny Pop- Hershey Co.
- Earth Balance - Boulder Brands
- Earthbound Farm- Danone North America
- Justin's - Hormel Foods
- Wholly Guacamole- Hormel
- Sabra Hummus- PepsiCo
- Kevita kombucha - PepsiCo
- Zico - Coca-Cola
- SmartWater- Coca Cola
- Van's - Hillshire
- Horizon Organics - WhiteWave Foods
- Stonyfield Organics - Danone
- Udi's- Pinnacle
- Santa Cruz Organic - J.M. Smucker
- Fox Barrel - Miller/Coors
- Peet's Coffee & Tea - D.E. Blend Masters (Formerly Sara Lee)
- Sweet Earth - Nestle
- Bai and Core Nutrition - Dr. Pepper
- Tazo Tea - Unilever
- Late July - Snyder's Lance
- Plum Organics and Pacific Foods - Campbell Soup
When it comes to the foods, cosmetics, and household products you purchase, Energy Matters, LLC. always recommends doing a little research to find out which brands you can trust. Remember, labels can be misleading and things can change.
One of our favorite brands, Vital Proteins, recently sold 41% of its business to Nestle. This illustrates why it is so important to recheck periodically to ensure you are choosing the best brands for your health and safety.
For personalized guidance to improve your health, consider scheduling a phone consultation with Rose.
*This blog contains Amazon affiliate links. The owner of this site may receive a small commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended.
What To Remember:Organic, all-natural products are more popular than ever.Many of the small-scale independent brands are being sold to huge corporations.Often these deals are made quietly in an effort to preserve public trust.
Sources:Benshosan, April. (June, 2018). 50 'Small' Food Brands That Are Actually Owned by Large Companies. EatThis.com
Baer, Drake. (August, 2014). 'Local And Natural' Brands That Are Owned By Giant Corporations. BusinessInsider.com
Cameron and Whoriskey. Who Is Behind Organic Brands? (May, 2015). WashingtonPost.com
Howard, Phil. (January, 2016). Who Owns Organic? OrganicEye.com.
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Trust is like glass—easy to break and hard to repair.