From Bob Oaks
Heinz organic ketchup is probably a more sound political choice than Woodstock Foods organic ketchup — even though Heinz smacks of “big corporate” to most people. The fact is that UNFI’s Woodstock brand is also big corporate despite its considerable efforts at green-washing.
Heinz ketchup was actually the first commercially produced “health food” condiment and its founder, H. J. Heinz led a successful lobbying effort in favor of the first Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906 and developed a ketchup recipe that didn’t use the conventional benzoate preservatives.
Heinz also grows its tomatoes “the old fashioned way” — by selectively cultivating and saving non-GMO seed stocks. The company’s website says its product is “Traceable From Seed to Plate: Consumers can rest assured that each tomato in a bottle of Heinz® Ketchup, from seed to vine to bottle, can be chronicled through a code on the cap. A look at this code allows Heinz to determine the farms the tomatoes were grown on, the details about where the Ketchup was bottled and even what varieties of HeinzSeed seeds were used.” Woodstock Foods offers no similar assurances and trying to track its product sources or manufacturing facilities is like trying to find the nut in a cleverly manipulated shell game.
Heinz also began as a company famously based on sound employee relations and humane benefits packages, which although perhaps diminished at times and in places over the years, has remained generally praise worthy with 60% of its workforce in the US and Canada covered by collective bargaining agreements. The same cannot be said for UNFI and its Woodstock Foods brand. There is currently a labor action against UNFI in Washington (see: http://www.organicconsumers.
So in just one man’s opinion (mine), I’d rather see a conventional product like Heinz stocked at the Co-op and not just its “organic” ketchup version — Heinz also markets no salt and reduced sweetener varieties although the last two contain HFC’s. At least our member shoppers can read the labels and be reasonably sure they know what they’re getting.