are natural products natural
Education, Food Truth, The Daily Kale

Are “Natural” Food Products… Natural?

In today’s world it is becoming apparently clear that we can no longer rely on other people, companies or even the government to look out for our best interests, especially when it comes to health. But the good news is that this gives us the opportunity to grow, become empowered and make the right choice based on our own knowledge… talk about a sustainable practice!

So today I thought it would be very valuable to share with you my latest quest to uncover the truth behind so many of these so-called “natural” food products that are out there.

This all started when I began noticing “natural” product lines such as Burts Bees and Powerbar in stores such as Target and WalMart. At first I was excited to think that the world is finally taking a turn for the better and that these small, health conscious brands are breaking into the marketplace indicating the change in consciousness. But then I began seeing them more and more, and I could not ignore my gut feeling that something was not right. Instead of jumping at the chance of buying these “health” brands at a cheaper price, I steered away and found more local options. After awhile people started asking me about my choices, and I really didn’t have an answer other then I just didn’t feel like they were healthy anymore. In my mind, if a large company like Target and Walmart are purchasing the product, then the company must be compromising the quality as well as their morals and ethics to be able to provide a price that would suit these mass retailers. And the point is that TRULY natural products are expensive to make because they use the REAL thing, so how in the world could they afford to sell to these guys?

After much research, I found the answer. The TRUTH is that these “health” companies have been sold to the unhealthy Mega Corporations, or controllers of the food industry, under the guise that they are still run by health conscious business owners. These corporations recognize that the market is shifting towards health conscious products and are therefore following the money. Unfortunately, they are not following up with the health and environmentally conscious foundations that these products were developed from and instead are just marketing under the false claims that they still do. Furthermore, the majority of the time these mega corporations are not listed on the packaging so you as a consumer have no idea that they are the true owner. As a result, you go along your merry way thinking that you are eating healthy, environmentally conscious food and beverage products, when in fact, we are consuming a slightly better version of the unhealthy alternative. Not to mention, we are funding the very corporations that are pushing the TRULY health conscious, small brands out of the market that desperately need our dollars to actually make a change.


“Natural” Products in Target

The Rundown (who owns who)


What does this Mean?

While I would like to hope that these Mega Corporations maintain some sort of integrity by manufacturing these “health” products with our actual health and not money in mind, but the truth is that that they became MEGA corporations by being successful at making money, not by making us healthy. At the end of the day, their bottom line is to be greatly profitable, and the truth is that making extremely high quality products is just not that. Therefore, I feel as though these “natural” products are really not what we had in mind.


Eat Local by designspiration

Does this mean I Shouldn’t Eat these Products?

In my opinion, consuming these products is the same as voting for these food corporations, and for me that is enough of a reason to put my money elsewhere. But in terms of actual health, I am putting my money on them not being the right choice. In fact, Kashi cereals, which are owned by the Kellogg corporation, have been found to contain a copious amount of GMOs and pesticides, according to an explosive report from the Cornucopia Institute. Kashi’s  ’Heart to Heart Blueberry cereal’ was found to contain grains coated in the residue of many pesticides such as phosmet, carbaryl, azinphos methyl, malathion, chlorpyrifos methyl, chlorpyrifos. What’s more, the company’s products were found to oftentimes contain 100% genetically modified ingredients.

Based on this information, we should most certainly second guess our favorite “natural” brand listed above and look towards more local options instead. While I am certainly not claiming that all the products listed above contain pesticides, GMO’s, toxic fats etc. I would bet that the majority do, and if you do LOVE a product listed above, take the time to research more about it to ensure that you are really getting what you intended.


Image by snailsview

The Upside

On some respects we can say that this is a triumph, because whether these companies are producing “natural” brands because of money or because of quality, at least it is a message that we as the consumer are changing our mindset about what we want the buy. Therefore, this is truly the first step in changing the marketplace, and forcing companies to realize that the chemical-laden, GMO, toxic food and products are just not cutting it. Furthermore, this is a direct testament to the fact that we DO have control of what is put out there and that is through our dollar. So take the initiative and start purchasing with a conscience. Spend the extra dollar for the truly healthy and local product instead of the mass produced one, and give the companies with integrity a chance. It is completely possible for us to change the ways things are done if you choose to participate.


Take Control of our Food

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  • Reply Cortney June 19, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Boogers, I love a lot of these brands.

    • Reply Darren June 22, 2012 at 7:54 am

      Totally agree! We started only shopping at the farmers market, eating very little if any processed foods and it has drastically improved my energy levels, and overall health.

      • lauren
        Reply lauren June 22, 2012 at 2:00 pm

        I know! It really can be that simple 🙂

  • Reply Alexia June 20, 2012 at 12:20 am

    i totally agree with all of this. when i saw my breakfast bars by cascadian farms at target i was excited and disappointed. sure enough, i bought a box and they were terrible! i still buy them at whole foods and they are better and more money. thanks for the list. very interesting!

    • lauren
      Reply lauren June 20, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      Also it makes you wonder how old the food is. You know that those large markets must have to have such a long transit time and therefore shelf life…more preservatives

  • Reply Sarah June 20, 2012 at 1:52 am

    This is unbelievable! Thank you for looking into this. Please, please keep putting this information out there. We need to know who is making our food!

    • lauren
      Reply lauren June 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      I will keep digging!

  • Reply Nicole @The Giving Table June 21, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    This year I decided to phase out of eating boxed cereal because it was the final frontier of processed foods in my diet, and now I’m moving on to skincare. I ate a lot of Kashi and Cheerios, but I have to say, once I came up with alternatives for breakfasts, transitioning wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Great post on the importance of knowing what’s really in your food!

    • lauren
      Reply lauren June 22, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      Great testimony Nicole- it is the truth that so many people see it as being this huge hurdle, when in fact, there are so many other options, you just have to care enough to take them.

  • Reply Shelley June 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    As a doctor of Chinese Medicine and Vibrational Medicine practitioner, I see most disease and disharmony coming from poor lifestyle choices, number one is food choices. REAL food, as little processed food as possible = boundless energy through a healthy (and relieved!)liver. Previous postings are so right … it’s not hard to eat real food! And it’s fun to prepare! It just takes a little intentional focus and the result is inspiration!

    • lauren
      Reply lauren June 24, 2012 at 6:41 pm

      Absolutely Shelley! I love the fact that you are a vibrational medicine practitioner! I have delved a lot into that aspect of care and have found it to be very effective 🙂

  • Reply Bree July 6, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Wow, this is a very interesting post! I’m from Australia, so the ‘health food’ brands are somewhat different over here, but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn a majority of them are owned by money hungry corporations. As it stands, a lot of smaller brands have been written off due to the two main supermarkets (Coles and Woolworths) creating their own line of products and selling them at the lowest prices possible (so basically for every item / product you can think of, they might have one or two branded versions, and then their own, far cheaper version). It’s no wonder all these independent wholefood companies are selling out, it’s virtually impossible to compete 🙁
    Oh well, at least there’s people like you who are willing to do a little research for the greater good… Thanks!

    • lauren
      Reply lauren July 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      Hi Bree – you most likely have more luck than we do in the states, because I am sure it takes a bit longer to go international, but it is always best to be aware. I do hear that Australia has amazing food though, tons of access to farm grown…. so at least you can try to stay local!

  • Reply Heather M. February 26, 2013 at 9:25 am

    I have read this list quite awhile ago. We all know what happened to blessed Toms of Maine! They were bought by colgate. First the nice letter that was in every box disappeared and then a year or so ago everything changed. No more metal tube, the formula changed, most flavours have fluoride and the branding and marketing got bizarre.
    Many of the products and brands on the list that were very healthy, natural, non gmo etc before being bought out, are no longer the same product. Look carefully at the ingredients before and after. I am constantly confronted with having to put an item back on the shelf that I used to buy. There is also the question of palm oil which is popping up in everything. Palm groves are being planted all over the place for biofuels-this means indigenous forests in developing countries are being cut down and replaced with palm plantations!
    Try eat more basic whole foods, less processed. Support small local artisans as well as the organic brands that have not been bought out…..yet.

    • lauren
      Reply lauren February 26, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      Absolutely Heather! Thanks so much for your input. But as you said, I just shop local smaller brands since I have so much more confidence in their integrity. Not to mention it is always nice to support the small guy 🙂

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