Organic Pacman

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Did you know? This chart, showing which major companies own which organic food companies, is regularly updated by Philip H. Howard, assistant professor at Michigan State University.  (larger version here). When I show this chart in a lecture, people are often very surprised.  They were holding on to the notion that their favorite organic brand was just a mom and pop business located on a farm somewhere.  It is  surprising and yet logical that Cargill owns Lightlife tempeh.

There are pros and cons to the bigger guys eating up the smaller ones.  The up side is that these huge food manufacturers know how to move and place product.  More people have access to organic food as a result.  However, there is more than one uncomfortable aspect.pacman1 Worries about the integrity of the organic standards come to mind.  Also, a lot of the products (not all) represented on this chart are canned, bottled and boxed.  An organic oreo seems only a hair more healthful than a conventional one. Do you agree?

I’m starting to sound like Steve.  Like a “Just my opinion” piece.  But really what I want to know is your thoughts.  Do you see this as a half full pacman or half empty one?

3 thoughts on “Organic Pacman

  1. This chart is fascinating, especially the link to the expanded version of it. I was glad to see there are at least a few organics groups that have remained independent. It makes me want to know more about what independent organic suppliers/products are available in my area (Portland). And, I agree with you about the Oreos!

  2. When I saw this in class, I wept a little on the inside. I knew that some of the bigger companies (Cascadian Farms) had been bought out, but I didn’t know about the others. I still think I vote with my dollars, so I am carefully looking into my favorite brands more now.

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