If you think the farmer-in-the-dell wearing Birkenstocks and singing "Kum Ba Yah" owns that organic brand you're so fond of, think again. According to "Organic, Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grew" (Harcourt, 2006, $25), half of all organic sales come from the largest 2 percent of farms. In other words, the same food industry giants pushing trans-fats and high-fructose corn syrup on an unsuspecting public own many well-known organic brands.
"Organic" is an ambiguous term for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Federal regulations for dairy products, for example, only state that cows must have "access" to grazing, not that the cows actually graze, so that organic milk on the shelf may come from happy hotty cows, but then again, maybe not.
When it comes to organic food, advice to "think global, buy local" is paramount. If you can shake the hand that grew it, you can look into their eyes when they answer the question, "how did you grow it?"
Food Processor & Rank:
Mainstream Brands & Other Info:
Food Processor & Rank: 1.Tyson
Organic Brands: Nature's Farm
Mainstream Brands & Other Info: Tyson's meats (chicken, beef, pork and sandwich meats); Food Service division supplies restaurants and schools.
Food Processor & Rank: 2. Kraft
Organic Brands: Boca, Back to Nature, DiGiorno, Kraft Organic
Mainstream Brands & Other Info: Kraft, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Oreo, Bull's Eye, Nabisco, Post, Kookaid, Velveeta, Cool Whip, Ritz, South Beach Diet, numerous others. Kraft was a division of Altria, which owns the Philip Morris tobacco companies, until it was spun off in January of this year (tobacco was apparently more profitable).
Food Processor & Rank: 3. Pepsi
Organic Brands: Tostito's Organic
Mainstream Brands & Other Info: Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Aquafi na, Tropicana, Starbucks DoubleShot, Frappucino, Quaker Foods, Frito-Lay
Food Processor & Rank: 5. Anheuser-Busch
Organic Brands: Wild Hop, Stone Mill
Mainstream Brands & Other Info: Budweiser, Michelob, Bacardi coolers, Grolsch, Rolling Rock, ZeigenBock, O'Doul's; also owns SeaWorld and Busch Gardens amusement parks
Food Processor & Rank: 6. Dean Foods
Organic Brands: White Wave/Silk, Alta Dena, Horizon, The Organic Cow of Vermont, Tofu-Town, Rachel's Organic
Mainstream Brands & Other Info: Land O Lakes, PET, Hershey's Milk, Meadow Gold, International Delight, Garelick Farms, Purity, Borden, Foremost, Shenandoah's Pride, Verifine, numerous others
Food Processor & Rank: 7. General Mills
Organic Brands: Gold Medal Organic, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, 8th Continent
Mainstream Brands & Other Info: Betty Crocker, Big G Cereals, Bisquick, Green Giant, Häagen-Dazs, Hamburger Helper, Lucky Charms, Old El Paso, Pillsbury, Progresso, Trix, Wheaties, Yoplait/Colombo, numerous others
Food Processor & Rank: 9. ConAgra
Organic Brands: Hunt's Organic, Orville Redenbacher's Organic, Lightlife
Mainstream Brands & Other Info: Chef Boyardee, Egg Beaters, PAM, Pemmican, Slim Jim, Banquet, Libby's, Patio, Reddi-wip, Wesson, Blue Bonnet, Manwich, Swiss Miss, Brown 'n Serve, Marie Callender's, Parkay, Peter Pan, numerous others
Food Processor & Rank: 11. Campbell's Soup
Organic Brands: V8 Organic, Prego Organic, Pace Organic, Swansons Organic, Campbell's Organic
Mainstream Brands & Other Info: Chunky soups, condensed soups, Spaghetti Os, Pace, Pepperidge Farm, Prego, Swanson, V8
Food Processor & Rank: 12. Unilever
Organic Brands: Bryers Organic, Ragu Organic, Ben & Jerry's Organic
Mainstream Brands & Other Info: Knorr, Lipton, Slim-Fast, Hellman's, Country Crock, Bertolli, Vaseline, Closeup, Pond's, Dove, Axe, Surf, numerous others
Food Processor & Rank: 14. Kellogg
Organic Brands: Kashi, Morningstar Farm/Natural Touch
Mainstream Brands & Other Info: Cereals (Apple Jacks, Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes, etc.) Pop-Tarts, Nutri-Grain, Keebler, Famous Amos, Murray, Sunshine, Eggo, Ready Crust, numerous others
Food Processor & Rank: 15. Coca-Cola
Organic Brands: Odwalla
Mainstream Brands & Other Info: Bacardi Mixers, Barq's, Dasani, NESTEA, Fanta, Fresca, Full Throttle, Minute Maid, PiBB, Powerade, Tab, numerous others
Food Processor & Rank: 16. Dole
Organic Brands: Dole Organic
Mainstream Brands & Other Info: Fresh fruits, vegetables, packaged fruits (in juice, gel and syrup) and salads, dried fruits, frozen fruits and fresh flowers
Food Processor & Rank: 19. Cargil
Organic Brands: French Meadow
Mainstream Brands & Other Info: Bulk food/ingredient providers, crops, livestock productivity solutions, processed meats and poultry, flour, oils, sweeteners, pharmaceutical products, also runs a financial and risk management division.
Food Processor & Rank: 21. M&M Mars
Organic Brands: Seeds of Change
Mainstream Brands & Other Info: Snackfood (M&M's, Snickers, etc.) Petcare (Cesar, Sheba, Whiskas, Pedigree), Uncle Ben's, Suzi-Wan, Dove products (chocolate, ice cream, cookies)
Sources: corporate Web Sites, certifiedorganic.bc.ca