When you found out the Tooth Fairy doesn’t exist, you were annoyed. When you found out the Easter Bunny doesn’t exist, you were pissed off. When you found out Santa doesn’t exist, you were crushed.
Prepare yourself for the next round of secrets and disappointment: the scandalous health industry hookups that no one is talking about.
Take Nestle, for instance. When I say “Nestle,” what do you think of? Nesquik chocolate milk. Cookie Crips and other suger-filled children’s cereals. Dreyer’s and Haagen-Dazs ice creams. Chocolate chips. And many of your favorite Halloween treats, like Butterfinger bars, KitKats, Crunch bars, Smarties, and Wonka products. But did you know that they also own Jenny Craig, one of the most popular diet programs in the industry?
Nestle is far from alone when it comes to hookups between health food and high-calorie indulgences. Soda is one of the primary causes of obesity today, yet Pepsi owns Naked Juice, a product known as one of the healthiest all-natural juices available. Hershey, famous for their mass-produced chocolate bars, owns Dagoba, an artisan chocolate producer that uses quality, organic ingredients and is committed to sustainability.
Kellogg’s – makers of Pop Tarts, Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, and Eggo waffles – owns Bear Naked, Kashi, and Morningstar Farms, three companies that are all health food producers. And Unilever, the world’s biggest ice cream manufacturer, is also the maker of Slim-Fast, one of the leading brands in the US weight management and nutritional supplement category.
These ties, it seems, are everywhere. Weight loss is big business, and to these companies that’s all it’s about: business.
Besides the secrecy, there are a couple of other problems associated with these unlikely matches. There’s a long history of failure when a massive multinational company takes over a smaller, popular brand. Slim-Fast was once a $600 million brand, but since being taken over by Unilever their annual profits are a fraction of that. Financially, these hookups don't guarantee success.
There’s also a practical issue: Can a larger company really continue the success and carry on the values of the smaller companies it purchases? Big companies are so far removed from the market that it’s often difficult for them to understand what made the smaller brands successful, meaning that a brand you love may lose what made you love it in the first place.
They say “You are what you eat,” so keep a close watch over what you’re eating and make sure that the ingredients don’t change when a new, larger company takes over. Are your favorite health food brands really the brands you think they are?