Why I’m Happy About Annie’s Homegrown Being Bought Out By General Mills

This week on Facebook, Annie’s made it public that they have been purchased by General Mills (for $820 million):

Hi Annie’s Fans,Today we announced exciting news that Annie’s will join General Mills. We are thrilled because this opportunity will fuel Annie’s future growth and allow us to more rapidly expand our line of high quality, great tasting products made with organic and natural ingredients that you’ve come to love over the last 25 years. So what does this combination mean for you, our loyal fans? Expect to see Annie’s in more stores, in more categories and in more varieties.Annie’s has never been a company that compromises on its values. With General Mills’ support, we will stay true to our mission and committed to doing well by doing good. We remain dedicated to real food; simple, organic, non-GMO and natural ingredients; a clean planet and sustainable business practices. These values are part of our DNA and they will remain so.

Thanks for being a loyal Annie’s fan and celebrating this new chapter in our story.

Sincerely,
John Foraker
Annie’s CEO

Since then, the current CEO, John Foraker, has assured Annie’s supporters that Annie’s integrity will remain intact:

I want you all to know that our mission, culture, and values and the things we stand for will remain the same. We’ll continue to make the same great products, more of them actually, using ingredients we are proud of, business practices that are respectful of the environment, and that make our planet a better place. We’ve spent 25 years building trust with consumers, one interaction at a time. We will continue to do that. Count on it. I always ask people to listen to what we say, but more importantly, watch what we do! We will not let you down! Our mission: We cultivate a healthier, happier world by spreading goodness through nourishing foods, honest words and conduct that is considerate and forever kind to the planet. that mission is hard won and has been built with integrity. We will never abandon it, but rather we will further it, by putting our product into millions of new homes, which will expand our positive impact even more. I have given 15 years of my life to that mission and I am not stopping now. Best, John, Annie’s CEO

In the past couple of days, I have observed the astonishment from many (but not most) Annie’s fans online, that a company like Annie’s that has pushed for mandatory government labelling of GMOs, would join forces with a company like General Mills that is known for investing money to keep mandatory GMO labels off their food products.

Why I’m Happy About Annie’s Being Bought Out By General Mills

However, that doesn’t personally bother me.

I’m simply neutral on that- I don’t see why we need the government to force companies to label whether or not their products contain GMOs.

Here’s why:

The free market will decide anyway. As long as Annie’s packaging continues to advertise itself as “non-GMO,” and that it contains no high fructose corn syrup, or artificial dyes or flavors, and it’s organic… I will continue buying Annie’s- even if it is actually now a division of General Mills.

Because I’m not caught up in the war against labelling. I represent the Annie’s fans who are actually happy for Annie’s products getting better distribution and more opportunities to get their higher quality products to the mainstream.

For those of us who are passionate about avoiding GMOs in our food, we already check for the voluntary non-GMO label on food when we are shopping.

We also know that if a company doesn’t make a deliberate effort to make it known that there are indeed no GMOs in their food, then it must be assumed their food indeed contains GMOs.

Any company that is catering to non-GMO consumers would be stupid not to flash it all over their packaging and advertisements.

Based on what the CEO of Annie’s is telling everyone on Facebook, it sounds like he’s promising that Annie’s will continue to be dedicated to staying organic, non-GMO, and free of high fructose corn syrup, artificial dyes and flavors.

If not, he knows that families like ours would stop buying Annie’s. However, I truly do not believe that will be the outcome.

Why I’m Happy About Annie’s Being Bought Out By General Mills

Here’s why:

A huge company like General Mills sort of needs Annie’s at this point. Influential food bloggers like Food Babe are educating the general public about how unethical GMOs are.

She has been helping to inform Americans about GMOs in Cheerios, for example.

The result? General Mills gave in to the pressure, announcing their plans to start making Cheerios without the GMOs.

It appears General Mills is already losing enough money to Annie’s. It’s apparently cheaper, easier, and more efficient to just join Annie’s efforts than to try to beat them.

But… they know to be taken seriously, they have to continue the “organic, non-GMO, no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial flavors or colors” commitment that Annie’s is known and respected for.

I am remaining completely optimistic. This means that snacks that are organic, non-GMO, and have no high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors or colors will be integrated into the mainstream even more.

Personally, I’m happy about the buy-out. I’m cool with just the voluntary food labels; ones that are not mandated by the government.

organic-nongmo

I say, let the free market decide. I say, celebrate the good news that Annie’s products will be more accessible (and possibly more affordable) to those who wouldn’t normally consider buying Annie’s food and snacks.

The way I look at it, it’s what on the inside (no GMO’s) that matters, not the outside (government-mandated labels).

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