12 June 2006

the man behind the toothpaste

The good news is that organic and all-natural products are becoming more available to the general public. The downside is that the relatively small companies producing the goods can easily get pulled into larger corporations.

This year it happened to Tom's of Maine, which Colgate-Palmolive bought, and The Body Shop, which L'Oreal purchased. This web page makes note of who owns natural/organic food companies. Depressing, really: Cascadian Farms and Muir Glen are owned by Small Planet Foods, which is owned by General Mills. Both White Wave, maker of Silk soymilk, and Horizon Organic dairy are owned by Dean Foods. And on and on.

It makes grocery shopping an even bigger compromise of values. I will continue to buy these organic products because they are organic, however, I wish I could, at the same time, support an independent or local business. You can only buy so much at the limited amount of farmers' markets around here. Last time I checked, none of the farmers were selling deodorant, anyway.

But perhaps it's folly to invest so much eco-conscience capital in a three-dollar tube of toothpaste. I don't know.

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