Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Organic Schmorganic

It's not news that "organic" food is fraught with uncertainty and that much of it is almost as industrialized as the "conventional" stuff put out by Archer Daniels Midland and ConAgra. Here's a handy chart (have you noticed yet that I love handy charts?) put together by Good Magazine to help you ID the corporate parents of the major organic brands.

Here's another fun one. Go to the Stonyfield Farm website. Notice all the material on carbon offsets and solar electric arrays and "Profits for the Planet" and the commitment to "sustainable agricultural practices." What a great small company.

A family member of mine got a job with Dannon, the yogurt people owned by the French food giant Danone Group. And, noticing the stack of Stonyfield Farm yogurt containers in our fridge (the Two Year Old loves the stuff, and I'm willing to pay a lot more for it because, first, I recognize all the ingredients on the label and, second, it just plain tastes really good), he said, "Oh, yeah. We make that stuff."

Really? Danone Group, the multinational food giant? It's not mentioned anywhere in the lead "Our Story" text on the Stonyfield site, but if you look hard enough you'll come across an "Our Partnership with Group Danone" link. The term "partnership" is used in sort of a loose, marketing context here, meaning that Danone owns 85% of Stonyfield Farms shares which, unless I'm missing something, means they actuall own Stonyfield. With the aid of Google you can find a more detailed press release with all the relevant facts.

I would love to say that I'm shocked, stunned, and dismayed.

But, I'm not. I would expect nothing less at this point.

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