Food Wars

Disclaimer: This post is being brought over to my current blog from my previous site, so it isn’t as up-to-date as the other issues I will be publishing.  

There’s been a lot of food related media this week and I think it’s important to discuss it. One piece of news I am psyched to hear is that Chipotle is definitely moving towards absolutely no GMO’s in their foods, which is pretty darn awesome.As of now, there are still GMO’s in their tortillas and chips, so if you’re avoiding GMO’s, it’s probably best to stick with the burrito bowls. However, if you don’t know much about the wonder that is Chipotle, please allow me to tell you that:

chipotle gmo

  • They are scrumptious. I do not lie.
  • They have always been more conscious in their farming practices than other major chains. So they get brownie points in my book.
  • They use organic and local produce when possible.
  • They have vegan options. Woo-hoo!
  • Sofritas. Just – sofritas.

I’ve loved Chipotle since I discovered it a few years ago, but when I heard that they were swimming in GMO’s, I decided to cut back. However, I will probably be chowing down again very soon and I expect to enjoy every minute of it.

So, what’s the catch? Since they’re sourcing from different producers, those burritos of goodness are going to make your wallet a bit lighter, and some people aren’t very happy about that. But is that really a big deal in the long run? So what if your burritos cost a bit more if you know you’re not eating altered foods? Chipotle is a chain known for its bottom line and I’ve never met a person that dislikes their food, so I’m hoping that this change will set a precedent for other restaurants that aren’t on top of their game. They aren’t organic just yet, but a girl can dream, right? On a side note, check out their factory farming video if you haven’t already. It’s awesome, and the one with the pigs is wonderful, too.

van'sNow…onto the bad news.

First, let me say that I love waffles. And when I say that I ‘love’ waffles, I mean that waffles and I have a strange love affair that occurs every weekend when I don’t have class. I pop them in the oven and watch a movie and suddenly the world is right again. I try to eat gluten-free and vegan as much as humanly possible, so I like to eat Van’s because their waffles meet my dietary requirements and taste yummy. Sadly, I will no longer be enjoying my waffles. Van’s has sold out.

It happened to Odwalla when they surrendered to Coca-Cola and it’s pretty well known that Cascadian Farms is owned by General Mills. Big name food companies control a lot of natural food brands. Now Hillshire Farms has acquired Van’s, which really bums me out. They’re known for Jimmy Dean sausage and Ball Park Franks and I’m really not a happy camper now that I know my Saturday night waffles are going to be corrupted by them.

I have a huge problem with big name food owning natural and organic brands, mainly because I believe that when you buy their food, you’re really buying into their parent company’s bottom line. Those bottom lines aren’t always healthy for people or the planet, but they are always healthy for profits. We need to ensure that we’re feeding the triple bottom line rather than just concentrating on one aspect.satan

One way to feed the three P’s (people, planet, and profit) is by buying brands that are cooperatively owned. That means that the people who work for the company collectively own it, have a say in what happens, and really care about how the work they do affects people. It’s usually not obvious which companies are cooperatives, so sometimes you have to do some research.  I buy Blue Diamond, Bob’s Red Mill, Equal Exchange, and Stonyfield Organic because they have values that I can really agree with. Unfortunately, Van’s is not longer on that list.

And I’m still left with a lot of questions: Is it ‘safe’ for big companies to own smaller, natural ones? Should we still stay clear of Chipotle, despite their changes? Is all of this just greenwashing?


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