Decisions are starting to be made and the single most important decision regarding the California Marketing Agreement is what to do with the “Marketing” portion of the agreement and, specifically, with the Seal.
We’ve discussed this issue extensively in pieces such as Seal Or No Seal: Marketing Agreement May Confuse Consumers, California Food Safety Seal Bound To Cause Consumer Confusion and Leafy Greens’ Board Should Disavow Marketing Effort.
Bottom line, the board should disavow any consumer marketing efforts and encourage signatories to use the seal only on trade communication such as letterhead and invoices.
Even cartons used in the trade are probably OK, but absolutely no consumer marketing. Why? Three things:
- Yuma is not in California! As a State seal it would only be available on products for a portion of the year. So, we would condition consumers to look for this seal and then, poof, the seal would be gone. Very confusing for consumers.
- Since the seal can only be used on California product, all bags or clamshells that use some product from any other state or country cannot have the seal. So different products by the same processor will sometimes have a seal and sometimes will not. It will confuse consumers further.
- Consumers will not understand that some products can use the seal and others cannot. So training consumers to look for the seal could depress sales of broccoli, cauliflower, mache, bananas and all produce items as consumers start to doubt the safety of produce that doesn’t have a seal.
The best decision would be a moratorium on marketing for the first season. Lets focus on food safety for a year and then reevaluate when next year rolls around.