Big food companies are buying up small ones. Honest Tea is now part of Coca-Cola. The French company Danone controls Stonyfield yogurt. Hormel owns Applegatenatural and organic meats.
The Cornucopia Institute has put together a poster that shows the full extent of the merger wave, at least for the organic industry. In the latest deal, announced a few weeks ago, Perdue Farms, a big poultry producer based in Maryland, bought Niman Ranch, which started as an idealistic group of farmers protesting against companies like Perdue.
For shoppers who like their food natural, local and organic, though, these deals can be unsettling. Will they still trust a food brand if someone else now owns it?
As it happens, some of the founders of those companies wonder the same thing.