Special to KPUA.net by H.I.E.D.B
SEAL OF QUALITY COULD BOOST HAWAII PRODUCT VALUES
Hawaii Island Economic Development Board is a private non-profit organization whose mission is, "To provide and promote private-sector support and expertise for balanced economic growth in Hawaii County, in partnership with federal, state, county and private resources."
A group of dedicated volunteers led by Glenn K. Muranaka of Meadow Gold Dairies, Brian C. Nishida (former Del Monte general manager) and James J. Nakatani of Congressman Ed Case's Hawaii office have been working several years to develop a program to endorse, enhance and enforce the quality of products that would be marked with a "Hawaii Seal of Quality." Along with the State Department of Agriculture, the program¹s purpose is to protect the integrity and marketing power of Hawaii-branded agricultural products and value-added consumer goods.
Hawaii Marketing Alliance (HMA) worked with the State Legislature to develop support and funding for a Hawaii Seal of Quality. Act 163 was passed by the 21st Legislature in 2002. The State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture owns the Seal of Quality and has the role of enforcing the administrative rules.
Discussions with the Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association have led to the development of a tiered system, which will allow for a Hawaii designation for products that are mostly made/manufactured in Hawaii. The marks "Made in Hawaii" and "Grown in Hawaii" were purchased and are now owned by the State Department of Agriculture.
HMA began working with the Brand Strategy Group mid-2003 to help identify the characteristics of the Hawaii Seal of Quality and formulate a promotional plan to introduce the brand and its visual identity. Quality standards and administrative rules are being developed with the Department of Agriculture.
Act 163 states, "The marketplace is filled with goods that bear the label Hawaii¹ or Hawaiian¹ with no real substantiation of the origin and quality of the product." Use of the Hawaii name by growers and manufacturers outside of Hawaii has been estimated by some to cost our producers up to 35 percent of their potential revenue.
The "Hawaii" brand is one of the most powerful in the world. It confers tremendous value on products, services and experiences associated with it. Business people concerned with the economic livelihood of this community are moving collectively not just to promote awareness but also to take action to protect the name. Similar efforts have failed in the past because of lack of promotional funds, focus on a small sector of the agriculture industry and insufficient cooperation among groups of both similar and diverse interests.
Prevailing economic conditions mean that Hawaii products will nearly always cost more than their counterparts grown in developing countries or even on the mainland. A strong brand with strong, well-managed and well-orchestrated support will help build value in the world marketplace.
Hawaii has unique products ranging from those most associated with Hawaii such as pineapple, coffee, macadamia nuts and tropical flowers to new exotics that are less familiar to the U.S. mainland but that grow beautifully here, including lychee and rambutan.
Research shows that consumers desire Hawaii products and associate them with higher quality. Quality is the most important aspect of this program. A brand is a promise. The top two considerations for consumers purchasing fresh produce are 1) expected taste and 2) general appearance. To meet these expectations, standards are critical to insure that the Hawaii Seal of Quality delivers on its promise every time. This is why HMA and the DOA have been soliciting input from associations statewide to help determine what the quality standards should be for various commodities. The Seal of Quality is a guarantee to the consumer that the product is among the best Hawaii has to offer.
Taken collectively, Hawaii agricultural products are the equivalent of a "Farmer Owned Brand." Brands with guarantees of origin/quality (which the Seal will be) are more common in Europe and are supported by the regulatory systems of the European Union. Among the better known of these are Champagne and "Prosciutto di Parma".
An example of a well-known protected/guaranteed point of origin brand in the United States is Vidalia Onions, protected and promoted by the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Other successful state-endorsed, collectively promoted brands that are familiar include California Almonds and California Raisins.
"The Hawaii Marketing Alliance views the Seal of Quality as a branding program that can have a great impact for local producers, especially in an extremely competitive marketplace," said Jerry Linville, HMA¹s executive director.
If you would like additional information, contact the Department of Agriculture, Market Development Branch, at 808-973-9595.
Tune in to the KPUA Business Forum on the first and third Thursdays of each month. Our guest on December 18 is George Applegate, Executive Director, Big Island Visitors Bureau.
Focus on the Economy is written for Hawaii Island Economic Development Board, Roberta Chu, chair / Paula Helfrich, president. Readers with comments, questions or suggestions should check the web site, www.hiedb.org , e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call HIEDB, 966-5416. An archive of Focus on the Economy columns is available on the web site.
Focus on the Economy is written for Hawaii Island Economic Development Board, Roberta Chu, chair / Paula Helfrich, president. Readers with comments, questions or suggestions should check the web site www.hiedb.org . Or e-mail email@example.com or call HIEDB, 966-5416. An archive of Focus on the Economy columns is available on the web site.
See previous Focus On The Economy features by clicking on the links below:
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