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As Organic Food Industry Gets Bigger Some Worry That It’s Lost It’s Way

Source: BooKooMillValley via flickr

It’s really no different than any other movement.  It all starts with activists unite to vocalize the changes they want to see with an accepted norm.  Then when the “movement”  gets big enough that it becomes the norm, critics cry fowl and say that the interest group has gotten too big and overshadowed the impetus.

Sound confusing?  How about this:  the organic food movement started because a group of people theorized that the corporate food industry had traded profit margins and convenience for nutrients and taste.  Now that the organic food movement has grown to consume a large revenue share, there is a growing sense that it’s lost direction from it’s origins.

Big Food – the so-called conglomerate that encompasses all the major brands you’re familiar with – has noticed that consumers have developed a taste for organic foods.  So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the same companies that produce the processed foods that America loves have also gotten into the organic market.

Kraft.  General Mills.  ConAgra.  Coca Cola.  It’s become big business to “go green” and organic.

But just as these major companies have entered the organic market, observers worry that the true genesis of these “healthier” food products has been pushed to the sidelines.

The fact is, organic food has become a wildly lucrative business for Big Food and a premium-price-means-premium-profit section of the grocery store. The industry’s image — contented cows grazing on the green hills of family-owned farms — is mostly pure fantasy. Or rather, pure marketing. Big Food, it turns out, has spawned what might be called Big Organic.

You can’t criticize the food industry.  After all, business is about profit.

Many consumers may not realize the extent to which giant corporations have come to dominate organic food. Then again, giant corporations don’t exactly trumpet their role in the industry. Their financial motivation, however, is obvious. On Amazon.com, for instance, 12 six-ounce boxes of Kraft Organic Macaroni and Cheese sell for $25.32, while a dozen 7.25-ounce boxes of the company’s regular Macaroni and Cheese go for $19.64.

Probably the moral to this story is that – as always – the consumer needs to be the ultimate gatekeeper.  A grocery shopper should take the time to know what they’re buying and what they’re consuming.

Organic Food Purists Worry About Big Companies’ Influence – NYTimes.com.

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