5 ‘Natural’ Brands (Owned by Giant Corporations!)

10 years ago

In our increasing efforts to minimize our carbon footprints, contribute to a greener society, and to reduce the toxins that we put in, on, or near our bodies, many of us are seeking out less process, more natural brands and products.  However, did you know that some of your most beloved ‘natural’ brands might actually be owned by giant corporations?  Here are five that are….

Ben and Jerry’s

I am sorry to inform you that in 2000 Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream was purchased by Unilever for $326 million.  While the  our favorite Vermont ice-cream makers had assured their socially-minded customer base that the giant corporation would continue to support the company’s commitment to community values, even donating a portion of profits to a foundation, in 2002 the Center for Science and Public Interest accused Ben and Jerry’s of abusing their “all Natural” label.



Yes, I am sorry to say that Kellogg’s owns Kashi.  Kellogg Co. acquired Kashi for $33 million in 2000.  It is not at all disconcerting that Kashi has since noted that U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the term “natural”.


The Body Shop

Guess who actually owns The Body Shop.  This formerly loved seller of beauty products was acquired by L’Oréal in 2006 for $1.3 billion.  Animal rights activists immediately called for a boycott of The Body Shop and its products.

Body Shop Friends & Family Sale


In 2007, Coca-Coca acquired Glacéau, also known as Energy Brands, for a rather substantial $4.2 billion.  Glacéau makes Vitaminwater, Fruitwater, and Smart Water, among other products.  Since the acquisition, Coca-Cola has been banned from advertising Vitaminwater as “delicious and nutritious” after admitting that its 500 mL drink contained 23 grams of sugar, which ismore than a quarter of the recommended daily intake.


Burt’s Bees
Burt’s Bees sold out to Clorox for $913 million in 2007.  I was rather disappointed by this development, so I have nothing more to say on the matter.



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