Good To Nose Baraka Blog

Selling the Dream

Written By: Sue
October 25, 2011


sinus infectionOwnership and the Natural Products Industry

Have you ever noticed that a product you’ve been buying for years suddenly seems different? You can’t explain it because the changes are subtle but something doesn’t seem right. I encourage you to explore your gut instinct. Changes in ownership within the natural products world occurs often and you might want to see if the product you love has exchanged hands. Everyone wants to get in on the green bandwagon these days.

So what does this have to do with nasal congestion?

Our blogs have more or less been about sinus health, but I can’t help reflecting upon what’s going on in the natural products world because we’re a part of it.

Did you know that:

Tom’s Toothpaste is owned by Colgate.

Honest Tea is partnered with Coca Cola.

Kashi is owned by Kellogg.

Naked Juice is owned by Pepsi.

And the list goes on!

Increasingly, I’m seeing more and more companies created by entrepreneurs, driven by a spirit to make a quality product, being bought out by large corporations. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a large conglomerate I trust. These companies are one of the reasons our culture is dissatisfied and protesting in the streets– so can we trust them to follow the original integrity of the entrepreneur who initially created that great product? I’ll leave you to answer that question.

Philip Howard, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, published a series of flow charts that show acquisitions within the organic food industry. It’s quite surprising to see who owns what products.

Additionally, I found these sites helpful. Cornucopia is a nonprofit who provides research and investigations on agricultural issues. They have a score card that ranks the truthfulness of companies claiming to have natural or organic ingredients. The categories mainly investigated are eggs, cereals, dairy and soy products. Nutrition Wonderland has also compiled a natural products ownership list. It’s a bit more current than the flow chart from Philip Howard and contains ownership information on over 200 companies. The website also contains informative videos, blogs and other information.

Being a small business owner in this industry for over 15 years, I see how big business acquisitions often change the vision, quality and integrity of the original owner. A great read on one company who chose not to sell out is Raising the Bar. Cliff Bar owner Gary Erickson tells his personal story of why he chose not to sell out.

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