The Food Co-op recently introduced Naked Juice after a screaming demand from the public. The on-campus cafÃ© at the University carries Naked Juice, purportedly sold at $5 a bottle! So, the food co-op now carries the juice at a skinny $3.14 for 15.2 fluid ounces.
I haven’t tried the Naked Juice, and I’m really not tempted to – mostly because they are owned by PepsiCo Products. I’m trying to vote with my food dollars – I don’t really want to give my money to the company that manufactures Doritos, Frito-Lay, Quaker Oats, and Mountain Dew… not to mention who until recently owned Kentucky Fried Chicken (gulp!). Kentucky Fried Chicken (see their website here) is now a division of Yum! Foods (as are Taco Bell and Pizza Hut).
In 1991, PepsiCo partnered with a company in Burma in order to distribute their products there. Turns out, this company was partnered with the Burmese military, allegedly responsible for some of the worst human rights violations in the world. They did eventually break their ties with the company in 1997, but not until after years of protest and boycotting. Even the Coca-Cola company stopped doing business with the military in Burma before PepsiCo.
Speaking of Coca-Cola, when I was in Washington, D.C. earlier this year I purchased an Odwalla juice in one of the senate buildings. To my disgust, it was one of the only non-fried/non-meat items in the cafeteria. I later found out that Naked Juice’s counter-part was owned by PepsiCo’s counter-part. Coca-Cola acquired Odwalla in 2002 – they paid a whopping $180 million for the “healthy juice.” (Here’s an interesting article on Odwalla and Corporate Social Responsibility… ).
Why keep away from Coca-Cola? Coca-Cola is the largest manufacturer and distributor of nonalcoholic beverage concentrates in the world. Technically, Coca-Cola only manufactures their concentrated sugar syrup, which is then sold to franchises. They supply to Nestea (joined with NestlÃ©), they have a huge foot in the bottled water industry (see: 5 Reasons Not to Drink Bottled Water), and they have been strongly criticized for their labor practices.
Sure, Coca-Cola and Pepsi have both made some nice charitable donations. But any giant corporation has to do that to keep their public image (and keep their tax write-offs).
It’s hard to support family-owned companies. Chances are most things in an avid food co-op shopper’s pantry are owned by NestlÃ©, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, or Cargill. Another example- Stacy’s Pita Chips: Frito-Lay: Coca-Cola.