Among the new crop of organic food companies, few have been as successful as Applegate Farms, LLC, producer of organic and natural meats.
The company, based out of Bridgewater, New Jersey, recently announced that it would be switching to entirely non-GMO feed for its animals, but now some activists worry whether the company’s standards will be compromised due to an impending mega-deal reported to be worth in the hundreds of millions.
Pro-GMO Industrial Food Giant Hormel Swoops In
The deal involves Hormel Foods Corp., which is expected to announce its acquisition of Applegate as early as next weekend according to this report from Reuters.com.
Overall the deal is expected to be valued at between $600 million and $1 billion, and both sides declined to comment according to Reuters.
Applegate Farms was founded in 1987 by the current CEO Stephen McDonnell and is the producer of foods ranging from organic chicken tenders to lunch meats, hot dogs and more.
Hormel’s Checkered Past Includes Pro-GMO Donations
Unfortunately for consumers used to buying Applegate as an alternative to factory farmed meats, Hormel has a long history of participation in the industrial meat-producing system.
Producers of Spam and several meat and pork products, Hormel is seen as a polar opposite of Applegate’s operations. Hormel spent $374,300 in California and $95,000 in Oregon to deny Americans the right to know if their food is genetically modified or not. They’re also a member of the notoriously pro-GMO Grocery Manufacturers Association.
Unfortunately, Hormel is no longer affiliated with Tom Hormel, son of founder Jay Hormel who gave $500,000 to support GMO labeling in Oregon against the company’s wishes.
In order to protest the pending sale, some activists have begun imploring people to post their opinions, and to tell the company they’ll no longer purchase their products if it goes through, on Applegate’s Facebook page here. The Applegate sale is one in a long line of purchases by Big Food of organic and natural companies; previous examples include Earthbound Farms Organic and Silk (whose owner was misled and unceremoniously let go by WhiteWave).