The Walmartification Of The Organic Food Industry

Organic Food Industry Structure: Acquisitions & Alliances, Top 100 Food Processors in North America

One of the main ways that North America’s largest food processors have increased their share of the organic food market is through acquisitions and alliances. The following infographic paints a picture of how mainstream food producers have become organic food market leaders. 

organic industry structure
click to expand the image

And it wasn’t just the mainstream food retailers who were on a shopping spree. Organic/Health food retailers Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Planet Organic gobbled up former competitors and suppliers in order to become bigger & stronger in order to take on the mega-corps entering the organic food market.

The following infographic presents a partial timeline of the retail acquisitions and mergers that the large health food retailers completed between the years 1984 and 2007.

organic industry structure acquisitions
click to expand the image

But not every organic food producer dreams of being bought out by a corporate giant and using the money to buy a boat and retire in the South Pacific. Some of these independent organic food producers have not only held their own against much larger competitors, they have actually thrived, expanded and created subsidiary brands. Next pageInfographic illustrating the Major Organic Independents and their Subsidiary Brands 


  1. Walmart….. yup. On one hand, it’s bringing to the forefront the need for more organic farming practices to happen. That we’re way over-doing it with the pesticides and the factory farms.

    The problem is, as with anything sold at Walmart, is that they drive down the prices so low, that no one will make a profit except Walmart. Especially not family farms. Especially not any of the middle men. Ultimately, the quality of the product gets degraded too much.

    Have you read “The Walmart Effect”? I recommend.

  2. My concern is that big companies like Clorox –!OpenDocument

    or Nestle will attempt to “greenwash” their public image.

    Bread = bad, Organic bread = good
    Bleach = bad, Green cleaners = good

    good = $$$

  3. hey thanks for the link. you put together all that info much better than i did. i just thought the graphic i posted was helpful. nice work. jesus would be proud 😉

  4. fabulous, important information. Thank you for the effort and intelligence. Time to get real with what we are putting in our mouths – it’s buyer beware and now we know why, who, where and how much.

  5. Great charts on this page, thanks for sharing.

    To your point, additionally, some of the larger players are doing organic “lite”, delivering against the minimum requirements for organic.

    In Denmark, I believe they have digital disclosure, whereby all the information about the grower is on the barcode. If this were rigorously applied, it might help. But you could see the major player still lobbying in the background against this, or the labeling standards being compromised.

    I have an innate mistrust of the big industry players in organic food, and
    I try to support local organic farms, small players who I know face to face at the London markets.

    Patricia Libertini

  6. thanks for the very informative post on orangic food. i don’t shop at walmart and are they really starting to sell organic food? wow.. but still doesn’t change my mind about going there though. lol.

  7. Walmart could be my first choice for organic foods, but they don’t carry enough variety. I think it’s nice that they have pretty low prices on their selection, but it isn’t diverse enough. They could make a lot more money if they A. Hired more people to check you out, and B. had a better selection of organic foods. Kudos.
    Propane Burners

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