In an effort to raise awareness on the benefits of growing and eating organic foods, or perhaps just for his love of the absurd, Stonyfield Yogurt founder and CE-YO Gary Hirschberg created and stars in a mock rap music video, “Just Eat Organic.”
In front of a changing background of images from the Stonyfield factory, farms and giant floating hamburgers, Hirschberg prattles on in a cadence not quite up to Jay-Z standards, but his goal is not radio air time or a Grammy; it’s more a message geared at a younger generation to help explain the benefits of eating an organic healthy diet. Viewers are encouraged to remix or make their own song, upload to the Stonyfield’s Website and be featured in the “Just Eat Organic” campaign.
Hirschberg says he chose to do the video now because he feels that the organic industry is an underdog up against agribusiness, specifically giants in the biotech and genetically modified food industry such as Monsanto who just won a battle on the unconditional deregulation of their Roundup Ready GM alfalfa, which was vehemently opposed by members of the organic community including Hirschberg and Stonyfield yogurt.
But the pastoral image Hirschberg dances in front of in the video is not quite an accurate picture of Stonyfield either. In 2003, Groupe Danone, a French food company (Evian, Dannon) purchased 85 percent of Stonyfield Yogurt, which led to an intense global expansion of the product line and criticisms of the company and Hirschberg himself for selling out to the large agribusinesses he claims to stand against. In 2006, Business Week reported that “Stonyfield already gets strawberries from China, apple puree from Turkey, blueberries from Canada, and bananas from Ecuador,” and with limited amounts of organic milk being produced in the U.S., the company has considered purchasing powdered organic milk from farms as far away from the New Hampshire based company as New Zealand.
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Photo: Stonyfield Yogurt