Monday, February 1, 2016

Organic and Stuff

ORGANIC food has become much more popular and mainstream in recent years, accounting for 3 to 4 percent of US food sales and climbing. In the UK, for example, 40 percent of baby food consumed is now organic. But I still don't trust it, especially when “organic food” is sold in relatively bigger stores—compared with my community grower whose produce I can see blossom from seed to harvest. Otherwise, who cares about “organic”? Check this out: Hershey's owns organic chocolate maker Dagoba; Pepsi bought Naked Juice; Coke and Odwalla report to the same boss; Nestle and Tribe Mediterranean Foods are the same. More: Kellogg also owns Morningstar Farms, Kashi, Gardenburger and Bear Naked, and ConAgra/Lightlife. General Mills, Cargill, Kraft, Cadbury, M&M Mars and others also own a host of natural brands. The conglomerate Hain Celestial Group is a major player in the sector.

       Meantime, in Asheville, a Trader Joe's, which specializes on organic and vegetarian foods, competes with Greenlife Grocery on the same block on Merrimon Av. Trader Joe's also owns Aldi's, which sells foodstuff that an average joe and jane could afford but snobbed by “organic-only” patrons. What's scary about giant food companies? They mass-produce their products, and here's a sample of their production line: Farmed in Guangzhou, China; washed and cleaned in Madras, India; packaged in Cebu, Philippines; and repackaged in Matagalpa, Nicaragua; then shipped to Asheville, North Carolina. Can you trust that? I don't—but I don't want to lose sleep over it. I'd like to simplify my food and save my stress to the next NBA playoffs. I will buy food that I can afford, eat anything that looks good, served on a clean plate.