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October 24, 2012 | By Karin Klein
Discussions of Proposition 37, the initiative that would require labeling of many genetically engineered foods, tend to bring up two arguments that both seem true at first blush. Opponents claim it would raise the price of food; supporters say it would result in better-informed consumers. But both assertions are more dubious than they appear. The No-on-37 campaign bases most of its claims of higher food prices on a study that it paid for, so obviously the findings are hardly unimpeachable.
October 29, 2012 | By Karin Klein
Much has been made of the wording in Proposition 37 about processed foods and the word “natural.” Although the intent seems clear, that the provision was meant to keep only genetically engineered food from carrying the “natural” label, the construction of the initiative is a little sloppy, and the state Legislative Analyst has said that the courts could interpret it to cover any processed food, including olive oil, dried fruit or canned tomatoes....
Long-dormant U.S. food companies are suddenly being appraised like so much fine wine. An $18.4-billion offer by international food conglomerate Unilever for Bestfoods, with brands including Skippy peanut butter, Hellmann's mayonnaise and Knorrs soups, has rekindled interest in the sleepy U.S. packaged food industry. Investors were so enthusiastic Wednesday at the proposition of a wave of food company takeovers that they bid up the stocks of virtually every well-known U.S. food company.
September 25, 2012 | By Noelle Carter
BACON AND PORK SHORTAGE "NOW UNAVOIDABLE" A British trade group is predicting a pork and bacon shortage next year , blamed on the drought conditions that hurt the corn and soybean crops this year. [Los Angeles Times] MARKETING TO KIDS: SO HOW IS THE FOOD INDUSTRY DOING? The FTC is revising a 2008 report that looked at how food companies market products to children, expected to be released by the end of 2012 . [ABC News] NO MORE JUNK FOOD AT THE HOSPITAL...
November 25, 2005 | Caroline E. Mayer, Washington Post
Four-year-old Ylan Isaac earnestly dumps mulch into a big plastic funnel, then pours it out. He dumps and pours, dumps and pours, in his favorite spot in the new playground at his preschool. Here, "you get to play with dirt," he says. Playing is exactly what PepsiCo Inc. had in mind when it decided to fund the playground at the CentroNia preschool in Washington, the first of 13 that the beverage and snack-food company plans to build around the country as part of its campaign to promote exercise.
June 20, 2012 | By Mary MacVean
Multinational food corporations have a growing influence on the health of people around the world, including obesity, and their actions need greater scrutiny, according to an editorial Tuesday in the journal Public Library of Science Medicine. The editorial kicks off the journal's three-week series looking at what it calls “Big Food.” The first articles, and the editorial, criticize not just the food companies but also officials charged with protecting public health. “The big multinational food companies control what people everywhere eat, resulting in a stark and sick irony: one billion people on the planet are hungry while 2 billion are obese or overweight,” the editorial says.
January 6, 2014 | By Karin Klein
It's good news that General Mills has decided not to include genetically engineered ingredients in Cheerios. Not because crops whose DNA has been tinkered with in a laboratory are dangerous to human health. There's still a dearth of evidence that they are. But plenty of consumers don't like them and outright fear them. (By the way, a New York Times article published Sunday does an excellent job of examining the claims and facts about bioengineered food, in a thorough and balanced way, by following a Hawaii councilman's journey to learn as much of the truth as he can about such food before voting on the topic.)
Forget dinner. These days most food companies are moving right on to dessert, pumping up the sugar in many of their new products--even diet food--in hopes of attracting new customers and boosting sales of tired brands. Even frozen french fries are getting a chocolate and cinnamon sugar makeover. Sweet sells, judging by the top-selling products of last year.
May 21, 2008 | Paul Roberts, Paul Roberts is the author of the new book, "The End of Food."
If Americans are feeling frustrated about food, who can blame us? It's not just the bugs in the burger or the hormones in Chinese seafood -- or even the skyrocketing prices. It's that most of us feel powerless to fix things. We may be a nation of do-it-yourselfers when it comes to deck repair or tax returns, but even as our industrial food system grows less reliable, our reliance on that system has never been higher. What's to be done? Growing our own isn't a solid option anymore.
Recipes, video games, coupons and advice columns. You name it, food companies are using it to get consumers' attention on the Internet. Their goal is not to cut out the middleman and sell directly to consumers. Rather, these old-line companies are trying to identify their very best customers and cultivate greater loyalty among others who might buy their products only occasionally. The problem, analysts say, is most major food makers are going about it the wrong way.
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