The Problem with Quality Control and Companies that have ‘Sold Out.’ Acquisition by a large company is a dream for every small business but a nightmare for every consumer. Today, we will examine the problems with quality control after small businesses are bought out. We also discuss why many people think they are sellouts.
Mondelez International, which owns Oreo, purchased Hu Chocolate.
This shocking headline shocked America. Healthy-chocolate-loving Americans have been raving about this all-organic company owned by siblings since its inception in 2012. Many of us will remember Hu opening ‘Hu Kitchen’ in New York. It was a small cafe that did not compromise on quality. This company revolutionized the world of packaged food by being organic, seed-oil-free, dairy-free, and wheat-free.
Mondelez International recently bought 100% of Hu, the parent company to many brands, including Oreo, Cadbury Dairy Milk, Milka chocolates, Sour Patch Kids candy, and Trident gum. Many Hu lovers are disappointed at the news of the sale and the possible loss of quality chocolates and healthier snacks.
Big Dreams for the Company and Big Nightmares for Customers
Many small-business owners dream of a multimillion-dollar paycheck. Having enough success with your small business to be bought by a bigger parent company sounds wonderful. The problem for the consumer is that the larger company is less trustworthy.
This is an age-old question that permeates many industries. It is a fact that is hard to believe.
Many small business owners are passionate about their products. The company they run has a story, an intent, and a purpose. While money is an important factor, as living in today’s world depends on it, it is not the only one. A small business owner decided to leap a faith and stop working for someone else. When a business is rooted in integrity, it’s when the company’s owner is directly related to the person(s) responsible and has a strong hold on all parts of the supply chain.
We often see integrity deteriorate as the business grows beyond the founder’s ability to manage the supply chain. Although this can be reduced to some extent if employees share the same values and visions, it is more common for larger companies to lose their vision.
The Impact of Multinational Corporations on Small Businesses and Communities
This integrity is most severely damaged when a company’s parent companies, which control hundreds of brands, buy it out. We can see that very few companies control nearly all of the businesses in their industry. [4-5] Everything from food and entertainment to health care, it’s likely that multinational corporations will sell a small business owner. These businesses don’t have integrity, they are rooted in profit. Profit becomes the main goal; the more we cut corners, the less integrity and quality we see in these products.
This is also true in large cities. All the advantages of living in multimillion-person cities, such as access to services, entertainment, and stores, are evident. Yet, people feel more disconnected from their communities and themselves the larger the city. 
We lived in tribes that held everyone responsible for each other. Everybody had a role, and although they varied, all were equally important to the community’s success. We saw people cheating, lying, and cutting corners to gain a competitive advantage. Things in the realms of integrity are often ruined when we create a “societal ladder” that allows for higher positions to be gained through hustle culture and not life experience (being an older person). 
Sell Up or Out
In the world of natural products, we often hear the accusation of “selling out” a lot. The unspoken promise of all-natural and organic products is that the producer and the consumer are part of the same team. This ‘team’ is often against ‘the man’ in many aspects, the idea that the handful of large corporations that control the world do wrong to consumers and the planet. We can help change the landscape by purchasing local, organic, and handmade goods and helping the world.
People can blame a small business owner for working hard to earn a multi-million-dollar paycheck to aid in the sale of their company. It’s hard work to own a business. The idea of retiring early sounds like a dream. Consumers have always known that when a large company acquires a small business, it is time to search for another brand.
This is a normal part of the business. Those who want to help small businesses operate with integrity and high-quality control pass on their knowledge to those starting out. Many new local business owners are determined to succeed. We might be ready to move on when the little guys go out of business.
Small Natural Brands That Have Been Sold to Large Businesses
We cannot guarantee the quality or changes that every company will make. You can still support companies based on small-business integrity and big profit-driven businesses, and you have the power to decide which ones you support.
The ‘Natural Company’ – Purchased by:
- Hu Chocolate – Mondelez International
- Garden of Life – Nestle
- Clorox by Burt’s Bees
- Unilever Seventh Generation
- Tom’s of Maine Colgate-Palmolive
- SC Johnson – Ecover
- P&G – Native
- This is L – P&G
- Schmidt’s Naturals – Unilever
- Nutranext – Clorox
- Clorox – RenewLife
- Cascadian Farm – General Mills
- Kashi – Kellog’s
- Boca Foods – Kraft
- Odwalla – Coca-Cola
- L’Oreal Body Shop – The Body Shop
- Pepsi Naked Juice
- Energy Brands – Coca-Cola
- Honest Tea – Coca-Cola
- General Mills: Food should taste good
- Annie’s, Inc.
- Blake’s All Natural Foods ConAgra
- Van’s Natural Foods Hillshire Brands
- Cereals from Hearthside Foods, Post Holdings
- Lara Bar – General Mills
- Bear Nakes – Kellogg’s
The more powerful a company is, the less likely it is to keep its small business values. Large international conglomerates buying small, local businesses worry many consumers. You can decide whether you want to continue buying from them or not, but it is important to keep up with the latest information about which large parent companies have acquired small businesses.
- “About Us.” Mondelez International, Inc., www.mondelezinternational.com/About-Us.
- “Mondelez International Acquires Hu, a Well-Being Snacking Company.” Mondelez International, Inc., ir.mondelezinternational.com/news-releases/news-release-details/mondelez-international-acquires-hu-well-being-snacking-company.
- What happens to your small company after an acquisition? www.foodprocessing.com/business-of-food-beverage/mergers-acquisitions/article/11415021/what-happens-to-your-small-company-after-an-acquisition.
- “Which Corporations Control the World?” International Business Degree Guide, 11 Feb. 2014, internationalbusinessguide.org/corporations/.
- Coffey, Brendan. “The Four Companies That Control the 147 Companies That Own Everything.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 12 Oct. 2022, www.forbes.com/sites/brendancoffey/2011/10/26/the-four-companies-that-control-the-147-companies-that-own-everything/?sh=24a2a1e4685b.
- Junger, Sebastian. Tribe: Homecoming and Belonging. Twelve, 2016.