Sympathy for the devil? Coconut Bliss & Dairy

Corporate Devil

When it recently came across my Twitter feed that Coconut Bliss was involved with a dairy company, my first reaction was shock. Well, shock and a mouse click.

A Not so Brief Explanation of the Partnership Between Coconut Bliss & Lochmead Dairy (coconutbliss.com)

However, as I started reading the series of steps that led to Luna and Larry, the founders of Coconut Bliss, selling the majority share of their non-dairy ice cream business to a local dairy, my shock turned more to confused ethics.

Should I stop supporting Coconut Bliss because of their parent company?

Of course, the bigger dilemma this raises is how do you choose who to support and who to avoid ? I often joke that at the end of the day most products are all owned by either Coke, Pepsi, Disney, Microsoft or big tobacco. There’s not much else out there, and the deeper you dig, the more you find out your money is probably somehow going to the pockets of a company that has blood on their hands, animal or otherwise. Hence, research such as the type done by Philip H. Howard at Michigan State University is often a little depressing:

Organic Processing Industry Structure (msu.edu)

With regards to Coconut Bliss, the issue was not really that big at all, but it was more because of a lack of their products here in Newfoundland than my personal decision. However, finding out that the same dairy company produced and packaged Turtle Mountain products hit a little closer to home. Although it seems Turtle Mountain now has their own production facility, I had always assumed they were a smaller company with no big parent taking a part of my money.

So, where do you draw the line? Is the act of buying from the vegan-friendly arm of a big company a vote for them to focus more on such products, or are you really just throwing your ethical money into a big, messy well of riches? Is buying the veg* burger at the fast food joint a step in the right direction or are we better off just spending that money on fertilizer for the backyard garden? What about those of us who reside in small towns or live life on the road and have few options outside of the major companies that are widely distributed?



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  1. Dear Friends at T.O.F.U.~

    I would just like to take this opportunity to clarify that Turtle Mountain is and has always been an independent, privately-held natural foods company with no outside ownership or ties to any larger parent company. We hope that you’ll continue to enjoy our frozen desserts with full confidence that none of your purchasing dollars are ending up in the pockets of any parent company with ties to the dairy industry or any other.

  2. Ryan wrote: Feb. 04, 2011

    Hi Gail,
    Thanks so much for replying to this. I’m happy to see that Turtle Mountain has the foresight to keep an eye on where and when their brand is mentioned.

    Just to clarify, I don’t think the suggestion was that Turtle Mountain was owned by Lochmead, more so that their products were once produced at Lochmead’s facility.

    Ordinarily I am happy with the majority of my purchases, even if some of them involve larger companies who produce other products I do not approve. In fact, simply buying my food in any grocery store available to me in eastern Canada means my money is supporting a company that also profits from dairy and meat on a regular basis. However, this recent admission of Coconut Bliss has led to me wondering if I should be more stringent with my money. Since access to your products is so easy in Atlantic Canada, I thought Larry’s statement regarding the connection to Turtle Mountain and Lochmead was interesting.

    If you had no connection with them in the past, I am sorry for presenting his statement without checking further. Also, if the confusion is that I suggested Turtle Mountain was in some way owned by Lochmead, I apologize again. My intent was merely to suggest that plenty of companies have ties to companies that vegans may not support, but perhaps our support of the vegan part is a positive thing instead of choosing not to support them at all.

    I hope this clears things up at least a little bit.

    thanks for commenting,
    Ryan

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