The average grocery store stocks tens of thousands of food items on its shelves — and most of them are produced by just five food-industry giants. Big Food has also acquired small, forward-thinking “natural” or organic brands to diversify their own offerings and reach health-conscious consumers.
This isn’t all bad. These small brands now enjoy wider distribution among national grocery chains, making their products available to more shoppers.
But big corporations may not remain committed to the natural brands’ standards, often changing products’ formulations postacquisition — sometimes adding more sugar, fillers, or GMO grains to reduce costs and boost the bottom line.
Big Food may also use profits in ways that don’t align with the values of consumers who prefer these natural products: PepsiCo and Coca-Cola both have funded efforts to obscure the link between soda consumption and obesity. And in 2012 they teamed up with Kellogg’s, General Mills, and Monsanto to fight a California ballot measure that would have required labels on GMO products.
To be a more informed consumer, don’t skip over the fine print: In addition to reading ingredient lists, get to know which companies you’re supporting with your purchases.
These are five Big Food conglomerates that own some of the most popular health-food brands.
- Stacy’s Pita Chips
- Naked Juice
- Honest Tea
- Simply Juices
- EPIC Provisions
- Annie’s Homegrown
- Immaculate Baking Company
- Food Should Taste Good
- Muir Glen
- Justin’s Nut Butters
- Applegate Farms
- Wholly Guacamole