Why Major Brand's Sales are Falling - It's Good News!

Omelet with Eggs, Onions, Herbs
More Consumers are Turning to Clean Eating

Clean eating is a term that comes with a lot of different definitions depending on which diet plan you're following. Lately, it's taking on another new meaning: simple ingredients you can find in your own kitchen

For consumers, that's good news. Falling sales is sending a major signal to name brands to clean up their act or suffer even further drops in sales.

The power of the mighty dollar is much stronger than most people think. When we vote with our cash, brands sit up and take notice. It's not a party for one. In fact, according to a recent article in Fortune magazine, overall food sales dropped by 4 billion dollars in market share last year due to the current buying trend of selecting organic and more natural alternatives.

The tide is turning in the consumer's favor.

People are Blaming Big Business for Their Current Health

For a long time, the food industry has been adding more and more:
  • chemicals
  • food flavorings
  • colorings
  • GMO's
  • preservatives
and other junk you can't pronounce to our food, some of it so gross you really wouldn't want to know about it. What started out as a healthy alternative to having to grow your own food in the backyard has now evolved into products that are mostly unrecognizable.

Since people are plagued with more illnesses and health problems today than in any other time in history, including obesity, a lot of people are blaming the food industry for their declining health.

While blame is never a wise idea, as it tends to paralyze action, people are not sitting around when it comes to spending their hard-earned dollars. That cash is still being spent, but not on products with ingredients that you wouldn't find in your own kitchen.

Instead, people are buying:
  • organic produce
  • frozen vegetables
  • natural canned goods
And sticking to the outside parameters of the store. Many are actually taking the time to read the list of ingredients on the package before they buy.

Grocery Store Display of Produce
Consumers are buying more organic produce
and actually reading food labels before they buy.

Clean eating is old news for dieters, but it a new trend for those who haven't been paying attention to what they eat or why. 

National brands like:
  • Kraft
  • ConAgra
  • Kelloggs
are taking a big hit in their pocketbook. In fact, according to a recent Washington Post article, profits for Kraft foods dropped by a whopping 62 percent last year. That's a strong kick in the gut that's sending Big Business a powerful message.

CostCo, Sprouts, and Walmart Neighborhood Grocery Makes Organic Affordable

Bowl of Lettuce Salad and Fruit Salad
Many Stores are Now  Making Organic Produce
More Affordable for Customers

People aren't eating Oscar Mayer hot dogs, bologna, and Jello like they used to.

Eating habits are changing, and the manufacturing companies are going to have to keep up with what their customers want or take a tumble.

Kraft Mac and Cheese or Kellogg's Rice Krispies are being tossed aside for cleaner choices, such as:
  • omelets
  • lettuce salads
  • Greek-style yogurt
Walmart Neighborhood grocery stores, Sprouts Farmers Market, and CostCo have put organics into the hands of consumers that couldn't afford to eat that way before.

Many major supermarkets are also sourcing their produce locally.

Sustainable farming and small-time farmers who grow organic produce without it being certified organic are also in popular demand.

Small Farm in Winter
People are more likely to trust a small farm
than they are to support big brands.

In fact, customers are more inclined to support small farms today rather than trust their health to the larger corporations who have been putting their own bottom line before their customer's health for decades now.

What are Major Corporations Doing About It?

Just like one would expect, the downward trend is encouraging some of these companies to run around scooping up small-time natural and organic companies to add them to their portfolio.

For example:

ConAgra recently purchased Blakes All Natural Foods. Although that practice isn't bringing in the big bucks, it does get their feet wet in a market they have never seen much use for.

Other companies are going back to the drawing board.

Hershey's, for example, is in the process of getting rid of artificial and other non-kitchen ingredients in their original Hershey's milk chocolate bar and Hershey's Kisses. Although chocolate isn't a healthy food, nutrition-minded customers are still purchasing treats now and then.

Whole foods are what they're after, not perfection.

Hershey's sales have held stable during the recent decline, but they are looking ahead to what's bound to happen in the future.

Other companies are admitting that customers are buying more organic and natural foods these days, but they are only in the beginning of the process of re-evaluating what they're doing and planning out what adjustments they will have to make to survive the tide.

Keep in mind that Big Business is famous for keeping their plans secret and hidden until they make their move. There is no reason to expect otherwise, even with a Whole Foods market on the horizon.

My Take on What's Happening

Homemade Gluten Free Pepperoni and Bacon Pizza
Homemade Gluten-Free Pizza is a Lot of Work

One thing is for sure.

With the demand for healthy alternatives skyrocketing over the past few years, clean eating isn't a fad that's likely to fizzle out anytime soon.

People want food -- real food -- and not chemical soup.

Major brands know that now.

We've told them through our pocketbook.

I'm expecting some major changes in the processed foods market over the next few months and years.

For those trying to clean up their diets and go back to a more simplistic eating style, I'm seeing this as a good thing.

Yes, you can shop the outside parameter of the grocery store and be fine. We don't need canned goods and processed crap in our lives.

Fresher is better.

We can cook from scratch and be a lot healthier since homestyle cooking lets us control what is really going into our meals. We are gluten free, so I really get that.

But let's be honest.

Making everything from scratch isn't realistic. I have no interest in making my own ketchup, tomato paste, or homemade mayo. I've tried, and they were complete disasters.

In addition, going out to eat isn't usually an option for us, so we appreciate being able to have a box of certified gluten-free frozen pizza in the freezer for nights when we've spent all day running around and are too tired to cook when we get home.

I love CostCo's frozen organic and natural-style stir-fry veggies for nights when I've had to endure vertigo all day and need to cook a simple meal without having to think clearly. I also don't want to always have to make my own:
  • jam
  • applesauce
  • organic corn chips
  • or chopped green chilies
For us, that's real life.

So what's your take on the latest trend?
Do you see it as a good thing or just more of the same?


Fortune Magazine, "Special Report: the War on Big Food," by Beth Kowit, May 21, 2015.

Just-Food, "Focus: Will ConAgra sell own-label unit after Jana investment," by Katy Askew, June 22, 2015.

Washington Post, "Your healthy habits are eating into the packaged foods industry," by Sarah Halzack, February 13, 2015.