When I first became interested in veganism
and natural foods, I prided myself on the belief that I was not only doing my body a favor but supporting, through my buying power, socially responsible businesses
. Alas, the truth is that even when buying "alternative" brands, there's a good chance our dollars are going to multinational corporations
who profit off of the exploitation
of the earth and its people. They also want to lower the standards for organic labelling. Another frustrating thing, to me, is that since natural foods already tend to be overpriced
i.e. $2 quarts of soymilk, the brands that are the most affordable are the ones owned or financially backed by the multinationals. Many of these brands were originally small locally-owned businesses who were bought out. Here's a list, although I am sure it is not exhaustive, of some of these products.
Bearitos, Bread Shop Granola, Celestial Seasonings tea, Garden of Eatin', Health Valley, Westbrae, and Little Bear Chips: All owned by the Hain Food Group, whose major stockholders are Philip Morris, Monsanto, Walmart, and Lockheed Martin weapons.
Cascadian Farms and Muir Glen tomato products: These are owned by Small Planet Foods, which is owned by General Mills, whose primrily investors are Philip Morris, Exxon, McDonalds, Monsanto, Dow Chemical and Texas Instruments, a major contributor to George W. Bush.
Odwalla Juices: Originally a cooperatively run business from Oregon, they are now owned by Coca-Cola, responsible for poisoning third world infants.
Gardenburgers are owned by Patman Foods, a factory farm meatpacker. Boca Burgers are owned by Kraft, who is owned by Philip Morris.
Whitewave Silk Soy Drink is owned by Archer Daniels Midland, investors of whom are Exxon, Walmart, Philip Morris, Goodyear Tire, and Lockheed Martin Missles and Space.
Stoneyfield Farm yogurt is invested in by IBM, Exxon, Walmart, and Johnson & Johnson.
This is pretty depressing. And I'm sure there are many others whom I haven't researched. Stay infomed and inform others. Call the companies and ask who owns them and who invests in them. Buying locally and supporting small businesses isn't always affordable. Awareness is the first step. "We live in a hierarchy but if we walk out together, the top will fall!"