I’m sure by now you’ve heard of the Annie’s Homegrown Company right? They make a smathering of products that range from mac ‘n’ cheese to dressing to ketchup to frozen pizza and entrees. If you haven’t heard of them, get ready, because you soon will.
On September 8, 2014 they got bought by the General Mills Company. For this reason, I’m guessing you will start seeing commercials and print ads for Annie’s starting as soon as the turn of the year.
This exact same thing happened to Stacy’s Snacks. One day while flipping through the channels, I came upon a commercial for Stacy’s pita chips and nearly fell off my Disc-o-sit. Up to this point, they were known only by us organic foodies. I found this peculiar so I did some quick intel. It turns out, Stacy’s is actually owned by the Frito-Lay Company.
Allow me to explain what all of this means.
I know more than anybody else on the face of god’s green earth what it’s like to scratch, kick, claw and struggle your way through life. This is one of the major, and only, side effects of doing what you feel passionate about.
These small organizations who create and deliver a legit and clean product, are sick and tired of the daily grind and unimaginable hard work involved with building a name for themselves.
Then when a big player comes along and recognizes they have a great-tasting line of fare, they wave some green in front of their eyes to take over the entire business. When the small player sees the BIG payout, they know that their struggles can be gone in an instant, so the deal is closed and everyone skips down the hall gaily.
I used to call this selling out, but you know what, my position has since changed. Years ago, I’d refuse to buy products from any organic company that was bought by a bigger player. I was very strict about this too. Then I did some research and thought about this process a little more.
In reality, the only way a company truly sells out is if they give all their rights of operations away to “the man.” This means they are no longer in control of the production of the food, and the company can create and label it the way they want. You then end up with possible dupage on ingredient labels when you think you’re getting the real deal.
I had a major conflict with this for many years, but I’ve found out a lot of these companies are actually untouched and are free to make their stuff as usual, which makes complete sense.
I’m sure a company like General Mills would see that it would be a lot easier to just take possession of the business end and leave the production alone. I know that is the case with Annie’s because I read it right from their website. And here’s where the magic actually happens.
Do you remember what I said about these companies struggling? Well let’s reverse the roles for a second. If a small organic company has limited resources and reach, what do you think could happen if they are bought by a Frito-Lay or a Danone or a PepsiCo? Not only would their monetary issues dissolve, but their products would all of a sudden get in the eyes and ears of millions of people.
I mention Danone because they are the shareholders of Stonyfield Farm, which is one of my favorite yogurt companies. They, along with Annie’s really like the idea of having widespread circulation. I have to say I can’t blame them.
The more people that get exposed to organic and quality foods, the better off we will all be. The best case scenario is, the government finally sees the light and offers subsidy for the organic movement and the price of goods comes down.
With powerhouses like Monsanto and Cargill calling a lot of shots, we have our work cut out for us. All we can do is keep fighting the good fight every day and do our parts to lead by example.