Open thread: Corporations you love

Yesterday I blogged about meeting a rep from Nature’s Path and feeling that the company is aligned with my beliefs about kids’ health and nutrition (and doing the right thing for the planet).

Are there any other corporations whose products you recommend to friends and family? Why do you recommend them? The corporate values or the high quality of the products… or both? Just curious if there are more companies I should know about!

***

Thank you so much for your uplifting comments on Thursday night’s post. I had a rough day. I’m happy to report that I felt much better on Friday. Back to my usual self. I have to admit that it helped that Friday was a “professional development” day and I was able to do something out of the ordinary (and eat another one of those wonderful Mexican lunches but without the tortillas this time). I needed a change in pace. I thought about photographing today’s meal, but I ended up taking the day off from photographing my lunch. It sort of feels liberating to do that!

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36 Responses to Open thread: Corporations you love

  1. Maggy@ThreeManyCooks October 23, 2010 at 12:53 pm #

    I love that you are doing this. In fact, I was just having a conversation with someone the other day about all the naming and shaming we do about products and brands. But what about all the companies that are getting it right? I think it would be great if we could get a large group of bloggers to post about their favorite products.

    I really like Green Valley Organics and Cypress Grove Chevre. Both companies with values I support and environmentally friendly.

  2. Joan Lambert Bailey October 23, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

    I know of a small business you might like. It's called Nak'ee Natural. A one woman show, she started making soaps, lotions, and bath potions (the rhyme is all mine…that one, too) after her oldest son was diagnosed with leukemia. Her products are great, whole ingredient, delightful, and made with the kind of passion that inspires.

  3. mirbrewer October 23, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    Big fan of Eden Foods and Bob's Red Mill.

  4. Karen October 23, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

    Tom's Shoes (http://www.toms.com/)

  5. icedteaforme October 23, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    I love lifefactory , annie's naturals (excited when I discovered they own olive oil company consorzio, local to us and sooo good) , larabar , raleys and seem to go out of my way just to use the products and share them often.

    the lifefactory glass water bottles are easy to clean and leave no odd taste in iced tea, my drink of choice! http://www.lifefactory.com and we are lucky our local grocery chain is so good at buying, identifying and supporting local farmers!

  6. Beth October 23, 2010 at 3:53 pm #

    I mention a lot of the companies whose products I buy in my blog. There are a bunch here:

    http://bethapproach.blogspot.com/2010/05/shopping-lists.html

    I will add the disclaimer that I haven't thoroughly researched every company that I listed there, but I only shop at my local health food store, Costco, and Frontier Natural Foods Co-op so I'm fairly trusting of the products and companies.

    I take into consideration the quality of the products that they sell, their stance on environmentalism and limiting their impact, and also their food labeling and allergen procedures as my daughter has a severe peanut allergy.

    Companies that I boycott for ethical reasons are Nestle, Hershey's, Coca-Cola, ConAgra, and I try to avoid Monsanto as much as possible but their control and power of the food supply is far reaching.

  7. Mrs. Q October 23, 2010 at 4:36 pm #

    Here's the website for the Oat Grow Drink. http://www.livesimpli.com/ — I just found it!!

  8. Andrew @ Eating Rules October 23, 2010 at 4:38 pm #

    So glad you've started this thread! I've been wanting to do some homework on this since having a similar conversation with Nature's Path, too.

    Where do we draw the line? How do we confirm what we think we now about a company–and how do we know it's not just marketing?

    I'll add Seventh Generation to the "good" list.

    Also, an interesting note: Larabars are owned/made by General Mills.

  9. Woolridge ES Green Club October 23, 2010 at 5:04 pm #

    For me, one of my favorite corporations is Chipotle.

    http://www.chipotle.com/en-US/fwi/fwi.aspx

    Another favorite (a private business and not a corporation) is Ellwood Thompson, a local organic grocery store here in Richmond, VA. Imagine a grocery store where not one single product has HFCS and where most of the produce is local (meaning less than 100 miles away). One neat thing that I noticed is that the trash bins have a sign on them that says "LANDFILL". Makes you pause and think about what you're throwing out compared to if the sign said "TRASH".

    http://ellwoodthompsons.com/our-promise/quality-standards

  10. Ms.T October 23, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

    I love http://www.beefalomeats.com/Home_Page.html They are a local company that provides a great beefalo product. No hormones, steroids or antibiotics and it's grass-fed.

    http://www.stonyfield.com/ is my favorite greek yogurt. I like that though they are a big company now they are still trying to stay true to their roots.

    http://www.countrychoiceorganic.com/index.php I like their focus on kids nutrition and making products that are healthier for kids but still give them the flavor they enjoy.

    http://www.daveskillerbread.com/ This is my favorite bread! Not only do they make a wonderful organic product but they are really making a difference in their community. Dave's story is worth watching. I think he is an inspiration for many who need to turn their lives around.

  11. bluets October 23, 2010 at 6:35 pm #

    There is a faculty member at MSU who tracks how different food distributors are gobbled up by the big corporations:
    https://www.msu.edu/~howardp/organicdistributors.html

    Poke around there – lots of interesting info.

    For instance, if you're boycotting Hershey, you'll also have to abstain from eating Dagoba. And Green and Black's chocolate is owned by Cadbury.

  12. Woolridge ES Green Club October 23, 2010 at 8:12 pm #

    Now I love Stonyfield yogurt as much as the next person. Does it/should it bother people that they (along with many popular organic companies) have been purchsed by much larger corporations? Stonyfield is owned by Dannon.

  13. ashley schoolar October 23, 2010 at 9:00 pm #

    I REALLY like the King Arthur's flours. I've used them all (or at least most of them). The whole wheat, regular, and the whole wheat/white mixture. Quality product with comparable pricing. I always feel good about whatever it is I've made when I've used this flour. I made the literal 'body' for 18 months at my church. The rounds turned out beautifully and got lots of accolades. I always felt a lot of pressure when making the 'body'!! 🙂

  14. Anonymous October 23, 2010 at 10:00 pm #

    I have been gluten free since 1999. I had an allergy test for it. The doctors were no help back then. Boy did my family give me crap. Old people have a hard time changing anything. Now, 11 years later, my mom is finally going gluten free. Miracles of miracles her undiagnosed stomach pain has disappeared. If you don't try different things than you never know. Believe me, no one knew what celiac was in 1999. My family gave me a hard time. I am sure you are giving up going gluten free because your older parents are giving you crap. You can try the gluten free thing all you want. Don't let anyone make decisions for you based on peer pressure.

  15. shel October 23, 2010 at 11:34 pm #

    mentioned this on your last blog : Justin's! woohoo for nut butters that are portable for snack or lunch. website is here: http://www.justinsnutbutter.com/index.php

    and, while not a corporation, i am a HUGE fan of the website eatwild.com. it is your source for getting linked up with organic and heritage farmers in your own state who have pasture raised livestock for sale as well as fruits, veggies and dairy products that are much healthier than the junk that you buy at the store. local, more nutritious, tastier, healthier… what more could you ask for?

  16. decafmom October 24, 2010 at 12:16 am #

    Perhaps an obvious one: I love Trader Joe's. They're not perfect, but they are affordable and, like Whole Foods, all their products are natural. From traderjoes.com:
    "The finest quality, natural ingredients. This means:
    # NO artificial flavors, colors or preservatives
    # NO genetically modified ingredients
    # NO MSG
    # NO added Trans Fats"
    …which means that anything in their store will meet most of my requirements for what I feed my family.

    I've actually stopped shopping in traditional supermarkets, and I drive a little extra to do my weekly shopping at Trader Joe's instead.

  17. Meister @ Eat This Neighborhood October 24, 2010 at 12:25 am #

    I absolutely always recommend two companies whose products I use religiously:

    Bob's Red Mill, an employee-owned company that produces incredible cereals, grains, mixes and flours. I eat their muesli every morning, and it's absolutely a highlight of my day.

    Rancho Gordo, a company specializing in beautiful, game-changing heirloom beans, dried corn, peppers and spices. Really amazing stuff — reinvented chili season for us last year!

  18. BillG October 24, 2010 at 8:35 am #

    Mrs. Q., I hate to think that you're foregoing corn tortillas because you're avoiding gluten. Corn, like rice, doesn't contain gluten, at least not the same kind as in wheat. If you have problems with both wheat and corn then you're likely not sensitive to gluten but to some other protein(s) common to both.

  19. Ms.T October 24, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    I know this isn't a corporation but I read this article and thought you might be interested in it.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/health/2013138767_apusschoollunches.html School cafeterias to try psychology in lunch line

  20. The Table of Promise October 24, 2010 at 1:04 pm #

    I must say I really like Organic Valley. They are farmer owned and supply a pretty great product. My only issue is all the sugar in some of the chocolate and vanilla milk products. But they have great plain milks and cultured butters. Overall, I really like them.

    http://thetableofpromise.blogspot.com/2010/09/organic-valey-coop.html

  21. Aimee October 24, 2010 at 2:25 pm #

    My new favorite find is the Bear Naked company. Their soft-baked double chocolate cookies taste gourmet and decadent! No HFCS, preservatives, trans fat, etc. The allergy alert on the packaging is clear, and they are partnering with TerraCycle on a sustainable packaging project, encouraging the consumer to return the box for repurposing. When my kids or I are in the mood for a treat, this is the kind of thing I want us to enjoy(unless I we made it ourselves, of course!). These are infinitely better than any other treat that comes in a box, which I haven't bothered buying in quite some time.

  22. Dianna October 24, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    Since McDonald's caused such a huge flap on this blog, I would like to mention a fast(ish) food place that I like, Jason's Deli. Even before I paid attention to food, I liked thier offerings. They offer fruit in place of chips or fries with thier sandwiches, have wonderful healthy ingredients, and things that you just don't see at other chain sandwich places.

    On top of all that, they have taken HFCS out of all their restaruants (except the soda, but that's not exactly in their control) and removed all artificial dyes and colors. They are really responsive to what their customers ask for and have created a very healthy, successful, fast(ish) food chain. I say fast(ish) because they still bring your order to you at your table, and don't have a drive through window, though I don't think it takes any longer than the typical fast food places.

  23. Kim October 25, 2010 at 4:39 am #

    I've been a fan of Cascadian Farm for years (I buy their organic cereals and organic frozen fruit). Their Web site has an interesting blog with recent posts on teaching children (and adults) how to compost, a peach freezer smoothie recipe recommended for kids' school lunches, and fall gardening tips. I recently learned that the company is now owned by General Mills. I don't know much about General Mills and have been meaning to look into their policies and practices.

    I also like Bob's Red Mill products quite a bit. As noted by another commenter above, they're an employee-owned company and I like that concept very much.

    I check the mutual funds in my retirement account periodically to make sure that none of them hold stocks or bonds issued by companies whose ethics are troubling to me.

  24. Kim October 25, 2010 at 5:07 am #

    I have one more to add. I like Whole Foods' corporate philosophy very much. They treat their employees well and they're covering the cost of adding 300 new salad bars in schools this year. Their stores are stocked with a wide variety of locally-produced items. Their Everyday 365 products are affordable and in most cases, I find that I like them more, and that they are often cheaper than, national brands in conventional grocery stores.

  25. AJ October 25, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

    I really like your blog and your project. However, I read your blog through an RSS feed, and the add today was from Burger King. I'm confused by this. Do you moderate your ads? Its especially ironic considering the topic of the post.
    Anyway, keep up the great work! I hope school lunches offer much better choices by the time my little one attends school.

  26. Anonymous October 25, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

    I'll add Gardein to the list. Their products are yummy for vegetarians (so no gluten free ones that I know of) and it seems that they do a lot of contributing to charity

  27. Leilani October 25, 2010 at 2:17 pm #

    I try to buy things from local companies as much as possible, but I do buy products from Eden Foods and Nature's Path. I really should do more research on these companies. Does anyone else ever feel like you can handle only so much of the red pill at any given time? 🙂

  28. Anonymous October 25, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

    Wow – I didn't know Dannon owned Stonyfield. I just had to look that up. That sucks. I think. The one thing I've noticed is smaller, regional brands get to expand when purchased by the biggies. So is that good? It's available to more people. Or is it bad, because now we are supporting a large corp? Same thing happened with Tom's of Maine – they're now a part of Colgate-Palmolive. And as mentioned above, General Mills owns Cascadian Farms. They also own the organic Muir Glen line.

  29. pyrostylez October 25, 2010 at 10:54 pm #

    Hi Mrs. Q,

    just letting you know ahead of time that i just wrote about your blog on my school blog (www.ecologyoffood.blogspot.com) and i had put up one of your pizza pictures.

  30. Anonymous October 26, 2010 at 2:15 am #

    I was going to say Burt's Bees, but somebody just told me they were bought out by a bigger company too.

  31. Kim October 26, 2010 at 3:20 am #

    Not only does General Mills own Cascadian Farm and Muir Glen, but they also own the Larabars brand. I know a lot of health and nutrition conscious people like Larabars although I'm not a fan. I think they're overly sugary as an everyday food and I have the impression that most people are thinking of them (and consuming them) as an everyday food.

    One thing I care about very much is how heavily a company markets crappy foods to kids (McDonald's being the ultimate master at doing this) and what kinds of tactics they use. For example, Kraft has lost me as a customer because of how heavily they market Lunchables to kids. Ditto Kellogg's Pop Tarts. The General Mills products that concern me are Totino's pizza, Jeno's pizza rolls, and Lucky Charms. I need to look into their marketing tactics for those products a bit further before I draw any conclusions.

    I read an interesting post about Stonyfield on the takepart.com blog last week. It discussed the company's efforts to reduce the production of GM corn. An excerpt:

    "To counterbalance the amount of genetically modified corn that's going into PLA products, Stonyfield Farms Inc. is paying corn producers in Nebraska a hefty sum to produce corn that is not genetically modified or treated with pesticides. (The company can't guarantee its own cups will be made from that exact corn because oversight would be too costly.)

    While Stonyfield Farms Inc. hasn't solved our energy crisis, it has taken a step forward. Its switch to PLA containers is a healthy sign that the company listens to consumers—and that as consumers, we can have an impact on what stores sell."

    So it appears that being acquired by Dannon hasn't compromised Stonyfield's commitment to the environment and the consumer (not that I would expect otherwise). The entire post is here: http://www.takepart.com/news/2010/10/19/4-things-you-should-know-about-cups-made-from-corn

  32. Mrs. Q October 26, 2010 at 3:31 am #

    Kim — I don't know exactly what it is but I find Larabars disgusting. Anyway, I think Stonyfield still retained a lot of the original people even though it was bought (at least that's what I thought I learned watching Food Inc). Usually when the big guys buy the little guys, they fire all the little guys and put in their own people in the new corporation. If they kept the original folks in their jobs at Stonyfield, that was a smart move because they still care.

    Thanks to everyone who shared! Great companies out there!

  33. CFox October 26, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

    Posting a bit late here, but my favorite company is a small, family run Wisconsin-based company that makes soaps and soapy things. They seem to have a special emphasis on products for babies and kids, because they are a small, young family. I love these products and the whole philosophy: Lusa Organics. http://www.lusaorganics.com

  34. HenrysMom A2MI October 26, 2010 at 9:35 pm #

    This article might be of interest to folks here. It's 5 years old now so use the info with a grain of salt or at least check the info before you use it elsewhere. After reading this I stopped buying Stonyfield Farms. With every passing year we try to spend more of our money with local businesses and farms. I know not everything can be sourced locally. But at the very least a local producer will speak to you face to face and answer your questions about where they get their supplies. Good luck speaking to anyone at Stonyfield Farms with your questions about their products.

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_42/b4005001.htm

  35. Amy H October 28, 2010 at 7:53 pm #

    This graphic is from 2009, so I'm sure some of it has changed since then, but it shows which corporations own which organic companies. There were definitely some surprises for me in here:

    http://www.cornucopia.org/wp-content/themes/Cornucopia/downloads/OrganicT30J09.pdf

  36. Anonymous October 29, 2010 at 2:06 am #

    Justin's (almond butter is to die for!!! and they are green, grass roots, natural, yum-o)!!! http://www.justinsnutbutter.com/

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