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Hanover Co-op Dumps Trustee’s Brand
In an article entitled “Co-Op Sacks a Dairy Foods Giant,” the Valley News described the Hanover Food Co-op’s decision to dump products such as Horizon Organic milk, Silk soy products and Land O’ Lakes half-and-half that are made by Dean Foods. The Co-op is a popular local institution and, to my mind, a minor business miracle: a group of four grocery stores that successfully competes against regional supermarket giants.
The grocer seems to have decided that Dean Foods is not keeping its earlier promises regard the healthiness of its products and that Dean is employing sharp business practices:
The Co-op cited deceptive marketing practices on the part of Dean Foods, the $12.1 billion food processor behind those brands, and also the way the company has squeezed independent dairy farmers on milk prices, according to an announcement posted on the Co-op website on Wednesday.
Officials at the 20,000-member cooperative have been looking into Dean Foods’ practices for a while, reading media accounts and also turning to reports from the Cornucopia Institute, an industry watchdog.
Dean Foods controls 70 percent of New England’s milk market and 40 percent of the U.S. market, and has an exclusive contract with the nation’s largest dairy cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America. That meant independent dairy farmers who wanted to sell to regional brands were required to join the Dairy Farmers cooperative and accept the raw milk prices set by Dean.
For years, dairy farmers have complained that Dean Foods had a stranglehold on the market. Last year, Dean Foods settled two separate price-tampering lawsuits brought against it by dairy farmers in New England and the Southeast for a total of $170 million…
The Co-op’s disillusionment with Dean Foods goes back three years, when a customer said that Silk, a soy-based alternative to milk, was not what it seemed.
Silk had always been advertised as “organic,” until one day, Dean Foods replaced the “organic” label with “natural.”
… going from “organic” to “natural” was not a minor issue of semantics. Organic certification in the U.S. comes with strict federal standards for controlling pesticide use and other growing practices. Consumers who buy organic do so trusting that the product, and the company behind it, share their values.
Technically, Dean Foods didn’t do anything illegal. But [the Co-op’s] Fifield said the subtle change to “natural” seemed to be a sneaky, “under the table” attempt to retain the highly valued association with organic without maintaining the standards.
“The trouble with Horizon and Dean Foods is they follow the letter of the law, but not the spirit,” she said.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…