For the past five years, a lot of the companies vegans have supported in the past have been acquisitioned or merged with other companies, often large conglomerates. Also, a lot of once-small vegetarian product companies have formed financial partnerships with others. In an effort to keep abreast of where money spent ultimately goes, we will be updating this list as changes in the industry occur.
This is not meant to be a value judgment about how we choose to spend our money, but rather just as a means to stay aware of where the money goes and whom it profits.
Kraft Foods has bought out Boca Burgers. Boca is the largest veggie burger producer in the U.S. Kraft is home to Oscar Mayer, Breyers Yogurt, Cheez Whiz, Jell-O and Velveeta, among other brands. Kraft is owned by tobacco giant Phillip Morris.
ConAgra has bought out Lightlife. Lightlife makes meat substitutes, such as Smart Deli slices, Smart Bacon, and Gimme Lean Sausage and Beef, among other items. ConAgra owns many brands, including Healthy Choice, Butterball, Bumblebee, Slim Jim and Armour. ConAgra is also North Americas largest food service supplier.
General Mills owns Cascadian Farm and Muir Glen. Cascadian Farm produces a wide variety of frozen vegetarian entrees; Muir Glen sells organic tomato sauces. General Mills is home to Betty Crocker, Hamburger Helper, Yoplait, Wheaties, and Lucky Charms cereal, to name just a few brands.
Smucker owns After the Fall, Santa Cruz Organic and R.W. Knudsen juices and natural sodas. Smucker makes name-brand jams, jellies, preserves and peanut butter.
Heinz owns nearly 20 percent of the Hain Celestial Group (a merger of the Hain Food Group and Celestial Seasonings). The Hain Celestial Group includes Westbrae, Garden of Eden, Arrowhead Mills, Health Valley, Terra Chips, Celestial Seasonings teas, and Earths Best Organic Baby Food, among other brands. Additionally, in 2001, Yves Veggie Cuisine, manufacturer of meat analogs merged with Hain. Heinz holdings include Boston Market, Kibbles and Bits, StarKist tuna and Heinz ketchup.
Dean Foods went from being a minority shareholder of White Wave in 1999 to buying it outright in 2002. White Wave produces Silk brand soymilk along with tofu and other soy products. Dean Foods has become the largest dairy processor and distributor in the United States after its merger with dairy giant Suiza, which manufactures Sun Soy brand soymilk.
M&M/Mars has acquired Seeds of Change, an organic seed company that also sells ready-made products like organic pasta sauces and salsas as well as grain-based side dishes. M&M/Mars produces candy and chocolate bars, such as Starburst, Skittles, Snickers, Milky Way and M&Ms.
Walnut Acres organic soups, salsas and tomato sauces (which also owns Mountain Sun juices and Millinas Finest pasta sauces), is owned by Acirca, Inc., a privately held company owned by employees and investors.
Worthington Foods, Morningstar Farms, Natural Touch and Loma Linda, all of whom make meat substitutes and other vegetarian products,are owned by the Kellogg Company. Kelloggs produces a variety of popular supermarket items, from cereals like Rice Krispies and Crispix to Eggo Waffles and Pop -Tarts.
Celentano vegetarian Italian frozen entrees has been acquired by Rosina Food Products, makers of meatballs, Italian sausage and other frozen items.
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