How I Feel About Annie’s Selling Out To General Mills And Why It Matters To Me…

Annies

I rarely write posts like this. Honestly, on this blog, I try to take a pretty non-confrontational, middle ground view on most things. Sure, I can be opinionated. If you know me, you know that to be true. BUT I also try to see both sides of everything, though I may not always succeed. I most definitely feel as though there isn’t one right way for everyone (on most things ;-)). After reading this first paragraph, you can see why I try hard not to take a hard stance on most things on this blog – it’s because there is always a BUT, an EXCEPTION to the rule.

I digress…

Back to my view on Annie’s. I chose to write about this mostly because it gives some insight on my stance on choosing real food, organics vs. non-organics, and big corporate America.

I have bought Annie’s products. In fact, just last week I stocked up on their bunny fruit snacks and their graham crackers. They happen to be H’s favorites, AND this company is VERY good about labeling which products are produced in a tree nut/peanut free facility. And then I heard the news. I read the sell out message on their FB account saying that they had been bought by General Mills. As I read it, I thought, “Be open minded. Not everything in your pantry is perfect, not everything is real.”

I strive to eat real food. I strive to feed my family real food. I strive to make most of our meals and snacks. BUT (and this is a huge but) I don’t always succeed. We go out to dinner at times. We get pizza. The kids (gasp) have eaten fast food. We are not perfect. And neither is Annie’s.

Here is my problem:

My problem is that I am on a path, a journey if you will, to making choices as a consumer that support the companies that deserve my support. I support local farms. I support farmers that follow organic practices in their farming. I am a know your farmer kind of gal. I support small companies (and large ones too) that go the extra mile to make sure that they too are on a path toward sustainable living. And with that comes striving toward GMO-free production – specifically those that are transparent, locally produced goods, and those that are Made in the USA. I do not want companies that don’t share my goals and philosophies to work their way into my life. I am trying to phase them out.

I feel like Annie’s back tracked on me. I am breaking up with them because our goals just took a turn and went in a different direction. By joining General Mills’ team I feel like Annie’s is condoning a company that is not transparent about its production and manufacturing practices as well as ingredients. They are condoning anti-labeling funders (huge ones at that). Heck they’re not even just condoning them, they are joining with them.

Bottom line is…I’m out. As I continue on a journey toward real food, finding real food alternatives, healthy living, and natural living in all aspects, not just food, I have no room for companies like Annie’s. So, as easy as it would be to buy them in Target or our local grocery store, and how much we enjoyed their product, I just won’t do it.

Annie’s, your product is great (right now at least), and heck, I get it – $800 and some million is A LOT of money, BUT we just aren’t meant for each other anymore. Kudos to you if you can do what you say you can – stay true to your brand and hold those manufacturing processes in place. But…you’re feeding the mouth of a big mean giant and that isn’t very nice either. They want you because you’re eye candy on a shelf. You’ve built a good name – Annie’s Organic. Everyone loves you. People are getting greener, becoming more aware. And to the maker of Cheerios, the one that wants to hide ingredients and remain sketchy about where their products come from, that is scary.

Let’s hope I’m wrong. Maybe General Mills will change. Maybe.

Let me be clear. I said it before and I’ll say it again. I am not perfect. This is a journey. I do NOT always eat perfectly (at all). When I began this blog I was in a far different place than I am now. Each and every single day I learn something that I didn’t know before. I take that information and I make changes. We as a family make changes. We are striving toward a goal and slowly ditching the things that pull us farther away from it. But let’s move forward. Not backward. When I research and carefully choose a company and product based on it’s manufacturing, ingredients, and transparency, I want my dollars to go to that company. It makes me sad that GM will now be receiving those dollars.

Well written articles offering a different perspective on this:

What the Annie’s Acquisition Means to Shareholders and Spoonholders

About Lauryn Blakesley


A woman out to explore, celebrate, and enjoy everything that my community and living locally has to offer. Blessed with three beautiful children and an incredible husband, our family embraces adventure while dreaming of what is to come. Lover of knitting, running (although mostly after little ones right now), the color orange, fun accessories, fall, tea, and a clean kitchen floor. I spend my days in awe of my family and trying to teach my three to treat others as they would want to be treated.

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Comments

  1. Agree!! We are NOT a perfect family by any means either–and we are so very fortunate to live in a country where we have a plethora of CHOICES! So we choose to move on….to support companies, goals, plans that jive with our way of life and beliefs. Just have to shake my head and say, “Peace out Annie’s Homegrown aka GM…it’s been real.”

  2. I stocked up on Annie’s mac & cheese yesterday – a last dance if you will as I know I won’t buy it in the future. It’s too bad, those chocolate bunny grahams are delicious….
    Kimberly recently posted…Noodles and Company Giveaway!My Profile

  3. Hi Lauryn. Before I answer, I want to disclose that I actually use ONE other product that in General Mills family. Just the one, and I’m ok with the compromise for now, but happy that I found a store brand organic replacement recently. THAT said, I think that there is far more to consider in this topic. Robyn O’Brien wrote an excellent piece yesterday on her blog about large corporations acquiring organic brands: http://www.robynobrien.com/_blog/Inspiring_Ideas/post/annies-acquisition/. I hope you’ll read it. If those of us who really want to see a shift care about the future of America’s food chain, we will NEED to see more moves like this. It can play out many ways, that is true. But the agricultural business is very challenging for small and organic companies, and the organic /real food movement isn’t going away. The only thing we eat from Annie’s is candy on those kinds of holidays, and I’m not going to stop personally. I’m ok with that too, but it does mean I will continually be reading that ingredient list-have to anyway. If we can’t support the trend of organic with big food suppliers, how do we think the future of this movement will fair? I’m not judging either way – it’s a personal response – but I’m trying to be open and consider that it might not be the death of Annie’s, and perhaps it can become the resurrection of a cleaner, more sustainable General Mills. We’ll have to see.
    Gina Badalaty recently posted…Review: e-cloth eBody Spa CollectionMy Profile

    • Love this Gina. I just read the article you suggested and am adding it at the end of this post as one to read to further knowledge about the subject. It is a great suggestion and offers a great perspective on this. I admit, for me, much of it is timing. As I began my “real food/life” journey, Annie’s was one of the first companies that I brought into my house that I truly invested in and my family loved. So for me, this is the first “full circle” that I am experiencing. There are many different perspectives and I am open to listening and hearing each and every one. Like I said, I hope that this change will begin to shift General Mills’ heart and mission. There is no doubt that this was a difficult decision for Annie’s and that there is more to the story than the public is seeing. I do not argue that for a second. I just can’t get the CEO of General Mills out of my head when asked about his stance on if they would be offering any more GMO free products back in Feb. – it was a strong NO. Maybe obtaining Annie’s is their way to offer that. Time will tell.

  4. I was reading about this. I’m not perfect in my eating at all, but trying. I’d like to think there is something else besides the money. Maybe they couldn’t grow anymore and they are keeping separate but this is allowing them to add more…or they are going to help GM turn the corner?

    Maybe? Maybe? I’m just too optimistic?
    Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? recently posted…Slow Cooker Cinnamon Pear Applesauce | Fall ScentspirationMy Profile

  5. I haven’t decided where I will stand on this. I feel like I rely too heavily on convenience foods right now because we’re so busy, though I’m sure our list of convenience items is really short compared to other families.

    Reading your piece inspires me to get back into cooking and baking this fall. One of my kids has gained a little too much weight this year. I’m worried about him. I want to make sure we’re sending the right messages to him about food.

    With October Unprocessed right around the corner, maybe I need to challenge myself again to stay away from unprocessed food for 30 days and make everything. Plus get my kids cooking with me.
    Barb @ A Life in Balance recently posted…Fashion Friday: Casual Day Out Jeans OutfitMy Profile

  6. I am fairly uninformed about the whole thing but I do hate when little companies that I trust sell out to larger companies that I”m skeptical of. I love Annies and do buy a lot of their products and trust their brand. So I’m not sure what I will do. My pantry is not perfect either but like you I do try and this leaves me wondering what I will purchase especially in terms of mac and cheese.
    Julia recently posted…7 Reasons You Don’t Have to Do It All at Walt Disney WorldMy Profile

    • I think skeptical is an important word here. I would feel slightly better if they sold out to a larger company that had a history of being slightly less sketchy. :) That said, I am anxious to see what lies ahead for Annies! And hoping it is everything they hope it will be!

  7. Total bummer, right!?!?! We just had their vegetarian chili last night on pizza.
    Heather recently posted…3 Ways to Develop Fine Motor Skills in Elementary-Aged KidsMy Profile

  8. I’m out too. And they make some of the best gluten-free options on the planet! So sad.

  9. Thank you so much for putting your perspective on this out there Lauryn. Your honesty is so important in helping to further the discussion on this incredibly important topic. I have to agree somewhat with Gina and Robyn- the fact that these larger companies are seeing organics as an important component of their products is huge. No, the situation isn’t ideal, but baby steps to get there. Our dollars are talking and they’re listening. Annie’s products were and are selling. That’s great news!
    Lori Popkewitz Alper recently posted…Air Purifier Review: Alen BreatheSmart FIT50My Profile

    • Thanks Lori! I agree with you on the fact that if these larger companies are true and genuine in their intentions and really do see organics as an important component of their products for the right reasons then yes, it is a huge win. Time will definitely tell on this one!

  10. Honestly, I never ate much Annie’s anyway. With a milk allergy, we didn’t do much of the types of prepared foods that they offer. I’m interested to see how they are able to grow now!
    carrie recently posted…Monster Jam 2014 Coming to Wells Fargo Center Philadelphia plus a Giveaway & Discount CodeMy Profile

  11. We don’t buy many annies products since a lot aren’t vegan friendly but I’m wondering how this goes for them.
    Caitlin recently posted…I like foodMy Profile

  12. My hope is that they will work to help change the entire GM brand around!

  13. I’m with you, Lauryn. We’re in the same boat- trying to move TOWARD more sustainable/organic/fair food practices, not away. It’s disheartening what Annie’s is doing; hopefully other companies will hear our votes with our dollars and not make similar moves.
    Sarah recently posted…How to Receive a Trophy (or Not)My Profile

  14. I haven’t decided how I feel about this yet. I hope for an David/Goliath thing as far as influence for the better.
    Anne @notasupermom recently posted…Great New Vegan Cookbook: OATrageous OatmealsMy Profile

  15. Thank you for your perspective on this… I am not an Annie’s consumer (although we probably have a cereal box or two of General Mills products in the pantry) but having the big picture is important for all of us.
    Elena recently posted…The Silence of Traveling SoloMy Profile

    • Agreed. And it’s important to remember that we don’t know all of the information. Maybe GM told Annie’s that they too are going to go all organic/transparent in their production. We can all dream;)

  16. I agree that this is so so frustrating. I can’t blame them for a business decision that I wasn’t privy to. However, it just seems smarmy. As a food allergy mom, the move concerns me. I would like to be optimistic and think about how GM is perhaps trying to do some good here. Only time will tell.
    Sharon recently posted…Secrets by Mary Lambert – my new bloggy anthem!My Profile

  17. Hey Lauren!! I definitely agree with you on many levels that this is a huge sell out for a small company. GM, like other major companies know that their spot on the store shelves is becoming less prevalent as more and more people start moving towards foods that are more beneficial for their families. These larger companies are just trying to cash in on some of the loss they experienced with the new age households going more for the healthier smaller companies. It is sad – and I too will most likely look to other smaller non-conglomorate owned options.

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