food watch: does pepsi own your organic…

The US organic market remains on track for strong growth over the next five years…report by Mintel, which claims that the increased availability of organic foods through mainstream channels is set to change the playing field…the report values the organic food market at an estimated $3.6bn in 2006, more than double the $1.5bn market of 2001. And between 2006-2011, …the sector will see a 44 percent increase in constant prices, headed by strong demand for organic fruits and vegetables and prepared foods.(read more)

so the integrity of the term “organic” is slowly being eroded by big business. in the movement to capitalize off a growing consumer health and eco-consciousness, food corporations are investing, lobbying and shopping in the “organic” market. the “organic industry food structure” chart to the left -Organic Food Structurecreated by public health advocate and msu professor, phil howard -shows which food biz giants are buying out your favorite organic food makers, on the low. big food corporations acquire “organic food” companies and no one’s the wiser. i was wondering why the appearance of the rice dream carton and the color and consistency of the milk had been changed so many times in the past year and a half! i thought they were just making more money and stepping up their marketing game. that wasn’t all: they got bought out! (<–press release) food giants encourage the use of synthetic pesticides and other nature altering chemical agents to expedite crop growth, streamline food production and increase profits. these chemicals not only have a detrimental effect on the environment, but are harmful for the human body. many of these chemicals are well known to cause cancer but are still approved by regulating organizations for commercial usage. although the organic food production act of 1995 set the tone for nationally standardizing the term “organic”, meticulous caution should be taken because the terms “natural”, “organic”, “certified organic”, “made with organic ingredients”, “100% organic”, and “free-range” have very different and distinct definitions. the branch of the usda that mandates organic certifications -the national organic program or nop – breaks it down here (click the picture above). the whole purpose of going organic is to eat healthy and avoid the vicious cycle but with big food corporations like heinz and coca cola buying companies like west soy and odwalla we see that nothing’s sacred. even the coveted rice dream rice milk and vegan ice cream desserts are “sleeping with the enemy.” well it’s back to soaking, blending and straining nut milk. (nite*vision makes a mean hazelnut milk with agave nectar. bangin’!) there’s some more tid-bits, but be sure to click on the links for more information. other good sources on this topic are from: grocery store wars, organic trade association

“Once you have Kraft marketing an organic product, albeit through another brand, you really can’t be more part of the mainstream than that,” said Don Montuori, editor of Packaged Facts, an industry publication. MSNBC

“U.S. organic food sales totaled nearly $17 billion in 2006, up 22 percent over the previous year, according to preliminary findings from the Organic Trade Association’s 2007 Manufacturers Survey. In the U.S., organic foods’ share of total retail sales of food and beverages was up to about 3 percent, up from 1.9 percent in 2003 and approximately 2.5 percent in 2005.”

With sales of roughly $12 billion, organic food remains a niche market within the $500 billion food industry. But the sector’s growing appeal to consumers has fueled a 20 percent annual growth rate in recent years, making it highly attractive to food giants looking for gains in a slow-moving business. NYTimes

The Evolution of Rice Dream Packaging
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~ by blactivegan on March 9, 2008.

7 Responses to “food watch: does pepsi own your organic…”

  1. [...] guest post “cows dropping like flies”,  i had to return the favor.  check out does pepsi own your organic… and find out how the big food corporation are sneaking into the “organic” [...]

  2. I knew it!! This is what I’ve been trying to explain to my husband for months now. I’m going to definitely show him this article. Thanks a bunch for this valuable information.

  3. Hey N*V…

    Does the buying out of these companies absolutely HAVE TO change the product itself? I figured that companies were bought out because big companies rationalized that if they were making money on limited budgeting, then they could make even more flow with better marketing….in that case, the product itself isn’t the variable, it’s just the presentation of the product.

    OK, ok…I’ll bite….please explain to me the difference between my 2% milk and organic milk (is that what Silk is??? LOL). You’re not going to agree, but at the end of the day, I think that the main difference is mental…people want to rest assured that they’re eating the right stuff…unless it’s a processed food, how can it NOT be organic?

    // TCS

  4. [...] pm | In food watch, funnies, humor, witty vegan | in the guest post on nite*vision’s blog, “does pepsi own your organic…” i made reference to how the food biz giants are buying out all your favorite “organic [...]

  5. The large corporations have been working on changing the legal meaning of “organic” for at least the last 10 years and it appears they’re winning. But, there are places we can go in our communities to get fresh true organic veggies & fruits. And of course we can grow a few things of our own. Spring is almost here!

  6. peace coppersun,

    i feel that you pose some critical insights. while, buying out a company doesn’t mean that the products or the products’ quality has to change, but in the case of rice dream rice milkit did. and i clearly understand the “capitalist savvy” of backing a successful product with big marketing dollars. however, business practices -at least in the u.s. – don’t happen in some ethical “clean room”. that’s to say, when a big corp takes over a business there is a tendency for the corp to assert its peculiar business practices into that new business. that alone isn’t necessarily deceptive or evil. however, what concerns me is when a big corp, known to be involved in shady dealings sets it’s sights on another smaller business who’s purpose is to bring an alternative to the market. case in point coca cola. they are ‘gangsta’ in “third world countries” straight merking and disappearing cats who try to unionize workers or organize for better working conditions. i wonder what a company like that might do with a odwalla – a company that makes organic drinks and nutrition bars. what corners might be cut, especially when they are lobbying to alter the term “organic”.

    i don’t disagree with you (like my logic?). but i’d say, it’s a little more than mental…its physical and all that. the food choices i have and the decisions i make with those choices affects my body, my family, my community, etc. i have to agree with supreme ultimate. one shouldn’t rely on companies to take care of your nutritional needs, especially when they are calling all the shots. taking control of your food choices is whats up from food co-ops to supporting local sustainable agriculture.

    for the difference between “organic” and other terminology i’d refer you the links in the post. but i think it even more important to understand the potential dangers involved with eating foods that have been genetically modified, (ir)radiated and/or treated with pesticide – check this out each sip of milk contains…

  7. i’m sort of speechless. all i can say is that this makes me glad that we made concentrated switch to local and organic produce in my household instead of just trying to take it when we could get it.

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