Why are so many consumers turning away from big food corporations and buying more products from smaller organizations? Several factors have come into play. More small companies are producing convenience foods that appear to be healthier and don’t contain ingredients people increasingly don’t want in their processed food items. Sometimes the reputation of a large corporation has become tarnished for one reason or another, while the image of a smaller competitor remains strong. An example would be the Hampton Creek reputation being upheld throughout attacks by corporate giants and government lobbies. Consumers appreciate the efforts by this upstart organization to offer affordable, more ethical and healthier choices. They don’t appreciate efforts by big government and big agriculture to ruin Hampton Creek’s success.
An article in Fortune published in May 2015 noted a $4 billion drop in sales for the large packaged food corporations over the previous year, as consumers decided in favor of other options. In this information age, the general public is becoming more aware of problems with the food supply. Many people have learned about the negative effects of artificial colors in cereal and other boxed food, for example. They’ve learned that food manufacturers must provide different versions of their products to European countries, because those countries have banned artificial colors. Europe also doesn’t allow the rBGH hormone used by some milk producers in the U.S. dairy industry.
This type of knowledge is guiding shoppers to different choices in the grocery store. They appreciate Hampton Creek’s products for not containing those artificial chemical dyes. They see no reason for salad dressing to be dyed so it’s a different color than it would normally be. They also like the avoidance of genetically modified organisms, another processed food component that many European countries oppose. Those countries have expressed concern about environmental effects of GMOs and the potential negative impact on human health. There are fears that GMO crops have been connected with the decimation of honeybee colonies and the increase in health problems such as inflammatory bowel disease. From this point of view, it’s no wonder that a distinct trend away from large food corporations is developing.