Who Owns What in the Natural Products Market?

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Headline: Clorox Takes Top Share of Natural Cleaners Market. The AP states that “one year after bleach maker Clorox started selling a line of natural cleaning products, it has reached the top of the market for ecofriendly cleaners”. Clorox has grabbed 43% of the market, generating over 200 million dollars a year in revenue. Clorox, although known mainly for their products built off their corner on the retail bleach market, actually owns many other brands and sells a wide variety of products. They own Burt’s Bees, makers of natural personal care products. They also own Hidden Valley Ranch, the Brita water filter company and Fresh Step Kitty Litter.

News like this always gets me thinking. Is it a good thing that big companies are finding natural products to be a profitable line of business? Or are the huge conglomerates that buy up small companies or develop their own products, poisoning the water for small, innovative companies? On the one hand, it is always good to get less dangerous and polluting products to as many consumers as possible. A company like Clorox can obviously command more shelf space, in more stores, than a much smaller company, and thus reach a much larger market. But something about this trend makes me uneasy. I don’t know exactly what it is, but it seems like I come face to face with this issue every week now.

On different, but related topic, I just went through the seed buying process for this year. I received several seed catalogs in January and sat down to read all the wonderful descriptions of how beautiful and bountiful my garden would be if I purchased any of a wide variety of seeds. The advertising industry used to be criticized for what they did with air brushes to photographs of the women used in marketing. That is nothing compared to what can now be done to photographs of the plants that will grow from the seeds these companies sell. But I digress… I know that some seemingly small, ethical, seed companies are actually owned by huge conglomerates like M&M Mars companies who own Seeds of Change. It is easy to just not buy from Seeds of Change if you have a problem with huge corporate ownership or the Mars company specifically. But it can be harder to know where specific seeds that a number of seed catalogs sell come from. Many are developed, licensed and sold wholesale by Monsanto. In the end I focused on two companies I deemed trustworthy – Territorial Seeds and Renee’s Seeds. Even if you try to be knowledgeable about this it can still be difficult to be sure. Yesterday I was told that Territorial, although still privately owned and overall a great company, does have one seed supplier, Seminis, which is owned by Monsanto! What is an ethical gardener to do?

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Will Sig
1 Steve

hey Will,
I had no idea they were air-brushing plant pictures. That is just plain wrong! I think this post points out how tough it is to do the “right” thing when you really think about it. That’s why I try to just go with the best product at the best value with the best customer service, and not try to think too much about who owns who… 🙂 ~ Steve, the trade show guru
PS. Are you really sure that they are air-brushing plants???

Steves last blog post..Trade Show Zombies

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2 Anna

Good old vingegar does it for me. I rarely use cleaning products at home, unless stuff gets really dirty, but we try to always clean on the go.

Lol about gardening, its like a big mac photo, lol.

Anna 🙂

Annas last blog post..A Bit of Knowledge: How To Take Photos of the Moon – Handy Tip For SLR Digital Cameras

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3 Bob

Just sat down with a big company in town, they are changing a lot of their products to a more green type, they have joined forces with a company called Ecopure, products are very good and green, bought some.

Bobs last blog post..The Fastest, Smallest, Biggest and Most Explosive

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4 Cindy

Will, I like your blog, keep up the good work. As an avid Gardner and Environmentalist (I like to call it environment positive), I always like finding good blogs offering good information. I am pretty involved these days in learning as much as I can about Energy Conservation. Among so many things, I am a staunch believer that our energy usage is one of our biggest challenges, and most needed area of change. I strongly promote products that are all about Healthy Living Technologies through education and providing resources. Look forward to more.
—Cindy

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5 Cindy

Oh, just one more thing. There is another great cleaning product that enzymes. Safe for everything from dishes and clothes to fruit and vegetables…It’s called EcoH and more information about it can be found from my website.

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