Who owns organic? That’s a complicated question. In a new chart, Michigan State agriculture professor Phil Howard attempts to answer it by linking 25 major conventional food processors (brands such as Kraft, Con-Agra, Coca-Cola and Hershey Foods) with the organic brands or products that each conglomerate owns.
One look highlights the extent of corporate ownership and involvement in the organic food sector in the United States. A few examples:
- Cascadian Farms (organic greens) and Muir Glen (organic canned goods) are owned by General Mills
- Dagoba chocolate is part of Hershey Foods
- Horizon organic milk is owned by Dean
- Tribe Mediterranean Foods (maker of everyone’s favorite hummus) by Nestle
- Odwalla juice is part of Coca-Cola
- Naked Juice is part of Pepsi
- Kashi cereals and Morninstar farms (veggie burgers, etc.) are owned by Kellogg.
- Heinz has a “strategic alliance” with Hain Celestial, maker of the Westsoy, Earth’s Best, Spectrum Organics, Garden of Eatin’, Arrowhead Mils, Rice Dream, Soy Dream and Celestial Seasonings.
Howard first created his organic food industry chart in 2002, when the USDA’s organic food labeling standards were first implemented and the organic grocery sector really began taking off. To really drive home how much consolidation has occurred in the industry, check out this animated graphic Howard created on organic sector consolidation between 1997 and 2007.
Some major players in the organic foods market remain independent, however. Independent North American companies with $15 million or more in annual sales of certified organic foods include:
- Eden Foods
- Amy’s Kitchen
- Traditional Medicinals
- Clif Bar (which also makes Luna bars)
- Pacific Natural Foods
- Applegate Farms
- Alvarado Street Bakery
- Golden Temple (maker of Peace Cereal and Yogi Tea)
- Turtle Mountain
- Frontier Natural Products (maker of Simply Organic)
- Organic Valley
- Newman’s Own Organics
- Nature’s Path
- Equal Exchange
- Lundberg Family Farms