I put together the first version of this graphic in 2003, approximately a year after the USDAs national organic standard was phased in. This national standard helped to catalyze scores of acquisitions of pioneering organic brands by larger food processors and venture capitalists. These trends have only intensified, to the point that nearly all of the 30 largest processors in North America have acquired organic brands. In addition, the scale of transactions has increased, such as the acquisition of natural/organic foods giant WhiteWave by Danone for $12.5 billion (July 2016). Some processors that resisted enormous buyout offers for many years have more recently been acquired for hundreds of millions of dollars (Pacific Foods, Applegate Farms, and So Delicious/Turtle Mountain/Purely Decadent).
Mergers and acquisitions involving the largest food processors themselves also increased since 2003, such as the $21 billion dollar acquisition of Keurig Green Mountain by Dr. Pepper (January 2018), further reducing the number of competitors.
For more see:
Chapter 8, “Standardizing Resistance: The Organic Food Chain,” in Howard, Philip H. 2016. Concentration and Power in the Food System: Who Controls What We Eat? London: Bloomsbury Academic.
Howard, Philip H. 2009. Consolidation in the North American Organic Food Processing Sector, 1997 to 2007. International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food 16(1), 13-30. [PDF]