Mother to Mother: “I will only give Danielle the organic Kashi cereal now. I’m not supporting the Frosted Flakes-Cocoa Puffs industry anymore. It’s time we were heard!”
You have been heard. Greedy sugary cereal producer of Frosted Flakes and Cocoa Puffs, Kellogg’s, OWNS Kashi (but you’ll never see it mentioned anywhere on the box or website).
Update: From last year’s New York Times:
Conventional cereal makers have been looking for ways to jump-start sales in a category that has been flat since 1995. In 2003 total cereal sales, excluding Wal-Mart, were $6.99 billion. In 2005 they were $6.89 billion but alternative cereal companies continue to expand. In 2005, sales of alternative cereals (excluding sales at Wal-Mart) were $361 million, up from $273.5 million in 2003, a 32 percent increase, according to Spins research.
Many of the alternative cereal brands are owned by larger companies, including Kellogg and General Mills. “Cereals, like milk, are one of the primary entrance points for use of organics,” said Ms. Christenson of Spins, “which is pretty closely tied to children – health concerns, keeping pesticides, especially antibiotics, out of the diets of children. These large firms wanted to get a foothold in the natural and organic marketplace. Because of the mindset of consumers, branding of these products has to be very different than traditional cereals.”
These corporate connections are often kept quiet.
“There is frequently a backlash when a big cereal package goods company buys a natural or organic company,” Ms. Christenson said. “I don’t want to say it’s manipulative, but consumers are led to believe these brands are pure, natural or organic brands. It’s very purposely done.”
General Mills owns Cascadian Farm, and the name behind Kashi is Kellogg. Barbara’s Bakery is owned by Weetabix, the leading British cereal company, which is owned by a private investment firm there. Mother’s makes clear that it is owned by Quaker Oats (which is owned by PepsiCo). Health Valley and Arrowhead Mills are owned by a natural food company traded on the Nasdaq, Hain Celestial Group; H. J. Heinz owns 16 percent of that company.
The cereals sold under the Peace label are owned by Golden Temple, a for-profit company owned by a nonprofit group founded by the late Yogi Bhajan, who made his fortune from Yogi Tea, Kettle Chips and a company that provides security services.
A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: The Poetry Reading