Don't Buy Nestle, Instead Try...

by - Tuesday, November 29, 2016

This blog series "Don't Buy... Instead Try..." intends to point out some of the most egregiously unethical, wasteful, and environmentally ridiculous companies out there. Instead of dwelling on their considerable awfulness, the series will focus on the other options you have for purchasing.

Every purchase we make is a vote for the kind of world we want. 
Every single purchase is political.
 Every single purchase has ethical ramifications, and 
every single purchase should be approached with a spirit of stewardship. 

We can change the world by refusing to fund extreme greed, the mistreatment of other human beings, and the trashing of the environment. We need to stay aware of the many choices available to us. Will we get it right every time? No. But if we all make little changes, we can send companies a new message, that consumers will show up if they do the right thing. 

When I think of Nestle, I think of Tollhouse cookies, the yellow bag, pouring chocolate chips into cookie dough (or just eating the dough out of those tubes- did anyone else do that in college?) It feels like a pretty wholesome activity, and there is something all-American about it. Can't you just see the ad with the mom and her kids baking in an all white, perfectly clean kitchen?

But that isn't the truth. Nestle isn't just delicious chocolate chip cookies. It's more like cookies and pure evil (which sounds fun, but trust me, it isn't).

Nestle (a Swiss company) is truly one of the nastiest companies out there. Just this week, they have upped the nastiness once again in Michigan, so it felt like time to bring this one back.

They are openly campaigning AGAINST water as a human right (they asked to change the wording) so they can profit on water-deprived areas.

nestle ceo water shouldn't be a human right
from Daily Kos
They have stolen water from California's poorest communities during droughts, only to package them in environment-wrecking plastic bottles going straight to landfills. You can read about this here, here, and here. If you only want one taste of how sketchy and nasty they are, read about how their staff of dirty public officials. Listen to the accounts of people living in the places they are taking water from. It is not hyperbole to suggest that this company is an enemy of the American people, as well as most citizens of anywhere.

Their noodles had 17 times the permissible amount of lead in them (in 2015. Mostly this controversy was in India and five African countries).

They were charged for using child labor for their chocolate in 2005.

Their supply chain used forced labor in Thailand to make their catfood. So essentially, slaves were being used to make catfood (can anyone say their cat is worth someone being a slave?)

 Boycotts have been coming up against this company since the late 70's when they actively promoted powdered formula in third world countries (because they don't make money off of breastfeeding, but they can gauge the poorest populations for formula). They are cartoon villain levels of evil, and we keep giving them our money.

You fund this nonsense. You fund this evil. Let that set in for a second.

The reports we have are from what they have been caught doing, so it's crazy to think of what they might still be getting away with. Not only is this company anything but All-American, it is actively exploitative of our country and its resources. This is not ok. Can we as Christians stand for people's basic human rights being denied to them? Can we as Americans stand for our water being taken from our people to make these bastards cheap money?  I don't think so, and we don't have to.

Nestle also owns Carnation, Gerber, Nespresso, Purina, tons of the mainstream cereals (including Cheerios outside of the US), Dreyers, Skinny Cow, Drumsticks, and Haagen Dazs, and a bunch of candy bar companies. They also own basically everything in the frozen food section- Digiornio Pizza, Lean Cuisine, Hot Pockets, and Stouffers. They also own 30% of L'Oreal, which includes Garnier, Maybelline, Lancome, and the Body Shop. Basically, they are sneakily taking in a lot of your money. They own a lot, so it can feel like they are unavoidable.

Other options always exist! Rather than funding giant umbrella companies like Nestle, we can practice better stewardship of our country and our Earth by choosing to give our money to someone else.

No American should be giving Nestle/Carnation/Gerber a penny. They are literally trying to steal our water from us.

Now this company is big (it also includes Gerber since 2007, Carnation, Purina,  Nespresso/Nescafe, and KitKat, among others) and I am not going to be able to cover every base, but I want to show that you can always find multiple options better than these bottom feeders, Dr Evil, nonsense-doers. I will throw out some ideas for some of their stuff

chocolate chip cookies cooling off

Don't buy Nestle Chocolate Chips, Instead Try... 

You can still use that recipe, but improve on it with slightly less evil chocolate chips.

1. Something Local- Does your local chocolate, baking, or grocery store sell chocolate chips? Well, it is time for a delicious experiment, my dear. The best thing you can do is shop local, and you might find what you have is pretty special. Not sure what local chocolate you have? I made a giant list of local chocolates which continues to grow!

2. Sunspire- Made in America chocolate chips. Organic, vegan, and fair trade sources, so you never have to feel bad about your cookies again. I haven't really seen them in stores, but you can buy them on Amazon.

3.Tropical Source Chocolates- I can't speak to these much, as I haven't tried them, but they are produced in the US and have generally positive reviews. If you feel brave and try them, please let me know how they are!

4, And if all else fails (or time is ticking too quickly), buy Ghiradelli- I hate to say this, because this once American company is now owned by Lindt (also Swiss). From what I can tell, they are still made here, but the money trickles up to Switzerland, not here. But they are still not Nestle, and they are in most grocery stores. Also, the price is pretty comparable, and I find people love the Ghiradelli chips.
nestle pure life water bottle

Don't Buy Nestle "Pure Life" Water, Instead Try... 

The name "Pure Life" makes me want to punch someone in the face. What could possibly be pure about a product that steals water, tries to take away water as a human right, and makes a ridiculous and unnecessary amount of trash? Pure evil?

ALSO, they also own Poland Springs, Arrowhead, Calistoga, and Ice Mountain.

1. A Reusable Water Bottle- If you are somewhere where tap water is safe to drink with some filtering, then you never need a plastic instatrash water bottle ever again. No, I mean it. If you want a couple you don't mind losing, reuse ones you already have. But we all can lean primarily on a reusable water bottles. Liberty Bottles is an American treasure and continues to employ American workers to make their reusable bottles. I love this company. For reusable and durable plastic bottles, Camelback makes their bottles in China, but Nalgene has a very similar feel and they are made in the US (I think in Rochester, NY). Lifefactory bottles are made in the US (sleeve and cap) and France (the glass), and I love my glass bottle from them.

2. A Water Filter- Soma water filter is plant-based and Made in the USA. It's the big winner! You could also get a Pur water filter dispenser or a pitcher version (Origin- USA). Even Britas are made in China (they have a stainless steel version now) but they still kick the crap out of those one time use plastic bottles. If you want more options that aren't Made in China, BWT makes their water filter pitchers in Austria, so you know the labor is ethical, but the trip is much longer. Still, in all of these cases, Nestle doesn't get your money.

3. Belu- If you have to get a bottle of water for some reason, Belu is based out of the UK, so not great for patriotism, but they are still your best bet to feel good about. Belu uses ethical materials (glass and recycled plastic) and partners with Wateraid. So basically, instead of stealing money from people or trying to take it away as a human right, this company puts their profits to providing water. Suck it, Nestle, what kind of Pure Life are you living anyway?

4. And if you are at the gas station- Blech, we have all been there. First, always get the largest one you can, because tiny bottles are the devil's playground. Second, cross Pure Life, Arrowhead, and Poland Springs off the list of contenders. Even if you are buying Aquafina, it is still better than Nestle. This is a worst case scenario, but it is going to happen at some point, so better to be honest about it.

gerber baby onesies

Don't Buy Gerber Baby Clothes, Instead Try... 

I just addressed this in my post on Carters, but here are a few highlights-

1. Used- Baby clothes get used for such a short time and most of it is perfectly good when the first baby finishes it. Find your consignment/ yard sale/ hand me down options and let that take up the majority of your baby's wardrobe. You can find super cute stuff (including Gerber, though honestly the Gerber things we've owned did not wear well. It's for very lanky babies, and two of their onesies ripped on us), you can save tons of money, and you can save that much more from landfills. Used clothes for babies is a no-brainer.

2. American Apparel- Simple onesies and soft pants, adorable hoodies, and the basics you need to make that used stuff look adorable and put together.

3. Etsy- You want to buy someone a really cute outfit set for their baby shower? I know where you need to go- Etsy stores sell the most adorable outfits that you won't see again and again on other kids. Plus, you can buy something very specific to the parents rather than the same old stuff.

shelf of gerber baby food
from michiganradio and their somewhat hilarious piece on Gerber's Michigan "roots"

Don't Buy Gerber Baby Food, Instead Try... 

Yes, we all associate Gerber with that All-Americanbaby eating out of little glass jars. That's not what this company is anymore. As a side note, if you are going to buy baby food, avoid pouches at all costs. Of course, Gerber makes these not completely safe (The BPA substitute is proving to be worse), bad habit-forming, environmental blights. Our kids are going to spend their adulthoods trying to figure out how to clean up these "conveniences" that really don't save time and waste our money. Skip the pouches completely, Gerber or otherwise.

To replace those little glass bottles:

1. Make your Own! I was shocked just how easy this was. You make mass amounts of steamed carrots, puree them, and house them in the freezer until it is their turn. I know it depends on your time availability, but I promise you, it really is worth doing if you can find the time. We bought this Made in the USA tray to store our food, but we honestly mostly just used the jars from when we did have to buy food.

2. Earth's Best Organic- This baby food company is owned in the US by Hain Celestial Group. The food is well-reviewed and loved, and we slowly shifted to them for baby food and formula as we went on through parenting our first baby. We will stick to them the next time. Happy Baby is also still owned and made in the US, but they mostly deal in pouches, so I am not impressed. Still, if that is your deal, you can check them out.
carnation instant breakfast in a glass

Don't Buy Carnation Instant Breakfast, Instead Try... 

This one was tough for us, because those breakfast drinks were a staple in our diet for a few years. That being said, they aren't particularly great for anything. Eat a vitamin and a piece of fresh fruit, and you have probably done yourself a favor. Also, the Earth a huge favor. That being said, if

1. Amazing Grass Green Superfood- Grown and sold out of a farm in Kansas, this boost could replace what you miss from Carnation Instant Breakfast. I have no idea if it is gross. My best guess is yes, because none of this stuff tastes particularly great.

crunch bar
from Chocolate Buttons

Don't Buy Butterfinger, Kit Kat, or Crunch, Instead Try...

I've seen someone breaking open a Kit Kat and maggots swarming out. Just remember that picture the next time they sound tempting. Maggots. You know a candy bar is evil when...

1.Your Local Chocolate Company- If you want to support the US, start in your own backyard. Candy is one of the most locally-specific products we have, and there are candy and chocolate companies in every state. I even compiled a list of them for you! I know our local Daffins makes a crisped rice bar that is way better than a Crunch Bar, and in Seattle, we can find about a million candy bars more interesting. When you are getting ready for a car trip, trick or treaters, or a craving, plan ahead and pick up something legit and American. 

2. Clark Bars, Junior Mints, Mike and Ikes, Hot Tamales, Jelly Bellies, Russell Stover, and Tootsie Pops- These are three that you can buy in the check out line that are still made here. Hersheys and their army of bars is headed to Mexico, but if you check labels, some of those outlier bars are still made in the US. Need more info? Check out USA Love List, who have multiple awesome candy lists including all the things you can find at Target

Could I keep going? YES! In fact, maybe we can tackle ice cream, dog and cat food, frozen food, and makeup in a second Nestle post. Bottom line- these guys are jerks. Jerks that have dominated our grocery store shelves and taken advantage of our people partially because we have let them.

Is this one a big pain in the butt to do? Yep. It took us a long time to totally work them out of our consumer diet, and I am not sure I will ever get over the sadness from no more Haagen Dazs chocolate ice cream.

But if anything is worth taking against, it's companies like these. Time to get creative so we can stop giving them a penny. They don't deserve it. If you want to read more about my Buying American for One Month Challenge, check here. If you want more shopping ideas, check my Giant List of Lists here.

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