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Mass-market buying out health food companies

The health food industry has changed dramatically during the  last 25 years when Seagate first entered the industry. It used to be made up primarily of small companies that farmed and processed their own products. These days, very few health food companies process anything other than paperwork in their offices.

Photo credit – Casey and Sonja via Flickr

During the the 1990’s the health food industry was viewed by the mass-market as competitors. However, the large companies got smart and decided to buy out many of the health food companies and grow themselves in both industries — mass-market and health food. Here are a few examples:

Chorox – purchased Burt’s Bees

Mars – purchased Seeds of Change

Hain Celestial – purchased Garden of Eatin

General Mills – purchased Cascadian Farm

Unilever – purchased Ben & Jerry’s

Kellogg’s – purchased Kashi

Kraft – bought Boca Foods

ConAgra – bought Lightlife Foods

Coca Cola – bought Odwalla

Coca Cola – bought Energy Brands

Coco Cola – bought Honest Tea

Danone – bought Stonyfield Farms

Colgate-Palmolive – bought Tom’s of Maine

L’Oréal (nestle) – bought Body Shop

Pepsi – bought Naked Juice

Hershey’s – bought Dagoba Chocolate

JAB (from Germany) – bought Peet’s Coffee

General Mills – bought Foods Should Taste Good (chips maker)

These are just a few in a trend to take over the health food industry by the mass-market. Below is the new face of the health food industry … or at least one of the major owners.

Photo credit – Thomas Baekdal via Flickr

In 1993, when Seagate converted from being just a fishing company and seafood processor and entered the health food industry, total sales in that industry were ~$5 billion dollars. As of 2015, the health food industry has grown to over $40 billion. Ironically, many of the small health food “mom and pop” stores are struggling to survive.  Mass-market supermarkets have seen the growing trend and many devote an aisle or section to health food products and organic brands, just like their largest mass-market suppliers are gobbling up health food companies. Amazon, has become a dominant health food distributor during the last 10 years. Internet sales have become a significant outlet for most health food sales.

As many of the health food brands disappear, along with them goes their production of their own unique products. What we are seeing is a morphing of the two industries into something that is neither exactly health foods nor Coca Cola, as the big boys take advantage of the sale growth by joining (ie buying out) instead of fighting competition from health food companies and their products.

This is really not very different than what goes on below the sea. The bigger fish eat the smaller ones and grow.  Except the fish don’t grow fatter.

Deep reef off Belize


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