Kraft Heinz and the Industrial-Agricultural-Criminal Complex

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Posted in category Food Politics

On the surface, this cartoon below reflects the expectations that health-and-wellness champions hold toward the industrial-agricultural-criminal complex as news of the Buffett-steered Kraft Heinz unification spilled out to the masses. However, I tend toward another view that, I admit, may be slightly over-optimistic, especially considering my acerbic criticism of food politics on the larger whole.

Thanks to the Internet and its by-products such as blogs, self-help guides, recipe sites, food tips, and eBooks/self-publishing, the packaged food industry has become a laughingstock in the era of the holistic approach to one’s optimal health and betterment. Consumers are seeing through the facade of organic gummy bears, low-fat disinformation, GMOs, recommending sugar bomb diets for diabetics, and the government’s recommendations for an abundance of grains and other carbohydrates. Smarter-type folks are now hip to the formerly popular non-foods such as Spam, Cheez Whiz, Cool Whip, and Velveeta, and they judiciously avoid them. Soda sales are tanking steadily, year after year.

Helping oneself via the process of self-education no longer requires long drives to the nearest mega-bookstore to spend oodles of hours perusing the shelves for topics of interest to find an occasional useful book. The Internet has revolutionized the way educated consumers think about what they put in their mouths. Real food diets – of all types and versions – are being embraced. Artisanal producers are popping up out of home kitchens and selling their wares online and in farmers markets, where there are fewer barriers to entry. Farmers markets have become exponentially popular, even post-bust when the recession was wiping out employment, savings, and individual wealth. Even pet food has seen an explosion of pricey foods wherein manufacturers very visibly exclaim their products are free from soy, wheat, gluten, and other ingredients being shunned by health-savvy consumers.

I think this merger is not so much about leveraging market share to sell more of their antiquated products as it is about getting into a more favorable position to be able respond to market pressures to begin selling more healthful, real foods while also allowing for greater transparency at a time when food shoppers are beginning to shop for food based on ingredients and understanding the labeling. My hope is that a merger such as this directs its synergies toward repurposing a massive-but-prehistoric resource (Kraft) to take note of consumer-marketplace demands.

heinzKraft

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4 Responses to Kraft Heinz and the Industrial-Agricultural-Criminal Complex

  1. Matt says:

    April 1st, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    Good article – it is nice to see you posting again on your blog Karen!  Hope you enjoyed your hiatus!  

  2. S says:

    April 2nd, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Great article for addressing the shift.

    This cartoon would have been wonderful as the title page for all of Sen. McCain’s lobbying & bills threatening health food & supplements. Follow the money!

  3. weak stream says:

    April 23rd, 2015 at 6:11 am

    Karen, thought you stopped blogging altogether. I’ll have to read your posts from the beginning of this year. Welcome back.

  4. George says:

    May 3rd, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    For a number of personal reasons I have ended up eating mostly canned food purchased at WalMart and Costco.  I have lost 30lbs in the process.  What is the secret?  Dinty Moore beef stew is good enough to eat when I am hungry, but unlike my home cooked meals, I have never felt tempted to open a second can.  I do buy canned vegetables. I do supplement the canned food with a salad once in a while.  I tend to avoid anything with a lot of noodles or other high carb ingredients.  Artisanal producers are nice but I tend to over eat good food.  It is embarrassing to admit but a monotonous adequate quality diet may have saved my life.   

    An article about McDonald’s ‘artisanal’ fast-food competitors

    McDonald’s in crisis: can it fight off the Five Guys threat?
    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/02/steve-easterbrook-mcdonalds-fast-food-big-league-burgers-shake-shack 

    Five Guys is great, I can do about 2000+ calories in one sitting.  I would have trouble doing that at Mcdonald’s as McDonald’s is just adequate as to food quality, even though the second breakfast sandwich is half price, I only buy one.  I personally think when the next recession hits,  McDonald’s will get it’s old customers back.  

    As far as soda sales go, have you seen all those new artisanal soda’s? Fentiman’s, Fizzy Lizzy, and many more.  KO is closing in on a new high share price.    

     So that’s the end of my confession.   

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