Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Organic Food Producers

Via The Consumerist, I came across this chart showing that a number of the organic food companies are actually owned by some of the giant food-producing corporations. A whopping 19 are owned by Heinz through their Hain Celestial Group.

It's an interesting perspective. The tone of the post at The Consumerist makes it sound like it's a smack of reality ("just because it's organic doesn't mean it was made on a happy communal love-farm"). As much as I love bursting the bubble of hippies, I think that's a little harsh. But it does say a lot about the way the dollar talks to companies. If you want organic food and are willing to pay a little extra money for it--and make no mistake, organic food is costlier not because it costs more to make or it's a niche market, but because there are always yuppies who will make anything a fad if it costs them a little extra and makes them feel self-satisfied--the companies will sell it.

(And that's not to say that there aren't people who don't genuinely believe in organic food and in a healthier lifestyle--I'm just saying it's also, apart from that, a yuppie fad right now, and marketing interests always bend with the yuppie trend. Look at any McDonald's commercials since their food supposedly, magically became healthy.)

I don't know for certain how to feel about this graph. On the one hand, I'm glad to see that corporations will sell organic food if people are willing to buy it. On the other hand, it's still cynical marketing and making corporations rich. Plus, I don't trust these people to not put in extra, unneccesary things that will kill me one day. Maybe I should just start my own miniature local produce farm like a lot of young people are doing these days...

UPDATE 3:36 PM: It's official. The organic boom is a fad that's going to be dealt with as another cynical cash-in by the corporates (big surprise). The Consumerist reported today that several brand names of organic personal care products (JASON Pure Natural & Organic, Giovanni Organic Cosmetics, Kiss My Face, Nature's Gate Organics, 365, Whole Foods House Brand, Seventh Generation) contained amounts of 1,4-Dioxane, a carcinogen. Go read about it and what to look for.

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