Earthbound Farms is a beloved brand and fantastic story of a small idea that grew into a big business. In 1984, Drew and Myra Goodman founded the company, growing organic vegetables on a 2.5-acre plot. Today, Earthbound produces more than 100 varieties of organic salads, fruits and vegetables on a total of about 33,000 acres, with individual farms ranging from 5 to 680 acres in California, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Mexico, Canada and Chile. The journey from those humble beginnings to where they are today makes Earthbound a landmark example of the organic category going mainstream.
Earthbound was courted by several suitors in recent years, including organic milk and soy milk producer WhiteWave Foods, which bought Earthbound in late 2013. While Whitewave did well with organic dairy products and processed food, fresh produce presented a different type of challenge. Then, when Danone purchased Whitewave in April 2017, Earthbound’s fate seemed to be locked in. Or was it?
It took a couple of years, but it seems Earthbound never found its place within the Danone ecosystem. As recently as February of this year, Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber noted that Earthbound Farms was operating at a loss and under “intense strategic scrutiny.”
So with the recent news of Taylor Farms acquiring Earthbound, has the little organic producer that could finally found a kindred spirit? What really happened? The insiders certainly know, but Taylor Farms certainly seems like a better fit for Earthbound than either Whitewave or Danone.
Whatever the future holds, I hope to see the Earthbound mystique remain alive and well. The company’s story and history make it a local California treasure, and we all benefit when Earthbound’s growers, their land base and their product lines thrive in the market.
So welcome home, Earthbound! Your customers and your loyal fan base should be happy with this recent news.