And whatever happened to that Grape-Nuts clone known as 7 in the Morning cereal, made by Kashi, a company with a decidedly more eco-friendly image than Kraft or Safeway? I used to buy it, but it quietly disappeared some time ago.
Time to call another 800 number...
A Kashi customer-service rep named Phil told me that the cereal had been discontinued, because it didn’t have adequate consumer response.
“That’s too bad,” I told him. “I loved it. And now the closest thing to it is Grape-Nuts, which is owned by Altria, which, you know, is Philip Morris. And I don’t really want to give them my money.”
“Well, you should know that we’re owned by Kellogg now.”
“Really?” I asked. “For how long?”
“About six years.”
I must have sounded crestfallen, because Phil proceeded to let loose with a slew of reassurances: “We operate separately from them. They’re in Michigan, we’re in La Jolla. They let us do our own thing, they respect our core values as a lifestyle company, and we’re not very involved with them at all.
“I mean, they do make some money from us. But we’re allowed to make our own decisions. We are a natural company. All our ingredients are manufactured in the U.S., all our products have our seven whole grains, and we offer three organic products. We are a natural company, and we’re going to keep it that way. Can I send you some coupons?”
And so the plot thickens. Ruminations on the independence of smaller companies bought by giant companies to come...