Last week, I wrote an article called “8 anti-science food companies that don’t deserve our money.” This exposed some of the most misleading marketing tactics in food today, while disrespecting hard-working farmers and consumers alike. But there is hope! As I mentioned last week, this is a two-part series, and I can’t write that without showcasing the food companies out there that are doing it right! Here are some of the most honest, science-based food companies that do not mislead consumers and do an excellent job supporting farmers. My Top 8, in no particular order:
Shut up and take my money! Culver’s has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the FFA (Future Farmers of America), donated money and youth scholarships to farm related students, and everything about their marketing is about thanking the farmer. They are so committed to supporting America’s farmers that they have painted some barns across the Midwest with giant blue and white letters saying “Thank You Farmers,” while working with the hashtag #thankyoufarmers. They don’t mislead with marketing tactics — they focus on ingredients that are local, high-quality, and just plain tasty! I try to support them as often as I can, and in my opinion, they take the No. 1 spot for a food company that leads with kindness, honesty, and integrity. The next time you pop in to a Culver’s, take a look at their cups, placeholders, and all other marketing campaigns, which say “Thank You Farmers.” For more info visit www.culvers.com/farmers. I just love them.
Land O’Lakes has been attacked by anti-GMO activists with “Monsanto Milk” nonsense for years, but they have stood their ground with science literacy and farmers. Whether a dairy cow is fed GMOs or not, the finished product is identical and nutritionally equivalent. Saying you get GMO milk from feeding cows GMOs is like saying you get chocolate milk by feeding cows chocolate! They deserve some applause for not caving to activists and have not taken the anti-science route like many other dairy companies have. (I’m looking at you Dannon….) “Non-GMO dairy” as a misleading marketing claim that has detrimental effects on farmers and the environment. Land O’Lakes’ ties to agriculture run deep, and as a farmer-owned business since 1921, they offer tools, support, own other ag businesses, and overall shine a positive light on the great farmers of our nation. Thank you Land O’Lakes! Make sure you check out their heartfelt commercial, which was played during some college football bowl games this winter. It’s beautiful.
Domino’s Pizza deserves a round of applause for standing up to animal-rights activists for claiming cheese and meat is cruel. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and PETA have launched campaigns against the popular pizza chain, but their goal is not to help animal welfare, it is to eliminate all meat and cheese products, period. (HSUS spent over $170 million in lobbying against animal agriculture last year and gives only 1 percent of their donations to helping dogs and cats in shelters.) Domino’s spokespeople have made statements basically saying they trust farmers and animal welfare experts to do their jobs (as we do them well) and for that… I will take my next pizza with extra cheese and sausage, please!
In a world where a lot of food companies make claims that they source antibiotic free meats, Wendy’s doesn’t shy away from the fact that antibiotics are an important tool in livestock care and didn’t cave to activists’ demands. They also only source fresh beef from right here in the U.S. and take a science-based approach to animal welfare by working with animal-handling experts like Temple Grandin.
SANDERSON FARMS CHICKEN
One of my absolute favorites. Sanderson Farms gives consumers 100 percent transparency and honesty, while educating them about hormones and antibiotics. So many food companies try to capitalize on “no added hormones” wording on chicken labels, but if you look closely and read the asterisks and fine print, it says, “Federal law strictly prohibits the use of hormones or steroids.” It does not even exist! Sanderson Farms shares this information with consumers with their clever videos featuring Bob and Dale, and the city slicker “marketing guru” trying to sell a product with silly labels like “gluten free.” All chicken is gluten free, no meat chickens are raised in cages, and all chicken is free from antibiotics because if they’re used, the animal must go through a “withdrawal period” before it can legally go to market. Bravo Sanderson Farms! Clearing the air on these marketing gimmicks while raising a quality product with honesty, Sanderson Farms is another company we should go out of our way to try and purchase.
McDonalds deserves props for showcasing the farmers who produce their food on their website, while building long term relationships with their suppliers right here in the USA. They focus a lot on quality without all the marketing gimmicks and are always looking for new and innovative ways to improve and create new products by working with chefs and top dietitians.
WEIGHT WATCHERS (and “SMART ONES”)
Always a pro-science weight-management company! They take a healthy approach to losing weight by teaching healthy eating habits on a “points” system. On their website they educate consumers on topics like growth hormones, organic, and debunk other marketing labels from a scientific standpoint. No crazy meal plans, no marketing gimmicks … just eat less, move more.
Soy and plant based products where they proudly announce the fact that they use GMOs! This is a very science-based company, which focuses on helping the environment with the facts and isn’t afraid to educate consumers on the safety and benefits of GMOs as seen on their website here.
So these are just a few companies that I like to support and hope you do, too! Bravo to any food company that can create science-based marketing and honest transparency. Anyone else you think should be on this list? Tell us about it in the comments!
Michelle Miller, the Farm Babe, is an Iowa-based farmer, public speaker and writer, who lives and works with her boyfriend on their farm which consists of row crops, beef cattle, and sheep. She believes education is key in bridging the gap between farmers and consumers.