News Release – SOQ Program Launch

For Immediate Release:  May 9, 2006 NR06-08

HAWAI`I SEALS OF QUALITY PROGRAM LAUNCHES Uses Branding Strategy to Distinguish Hawai`i Agricultural Products

HONOLULU – The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) kicked off its Seals of Quality program today at a noontime event at Washington Place.  The program establishes a statewide branding program to protect the integrity and value of Hawai`i agricultural and value-added processed products.   The familiar “Hawai`i” logo, which is promoted extensively by the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, has been incorporated into the brand identity.

“The Seals of Quality program will distinguish Hawai`i-grown and Hawai`i-made products in the marketplace,” said Governor Linda Lingle.  “Consumers can now know for certain that their purchases are truly supporting Hawai`i farmers and businesses.”

At the launch, twelve Hawai`i companies were recognized as founding members of the Seals of Quality Program, representing products ranging from fruits and vegetables to nursery products, coffee and homegrown beef, to value-added products.  (See list attached)

Participating companies are required to sign a limited license agreement with HDOA to use the logo according to the standards established, which include requirements that:

  • products have a Hawa`i point of origin;
  • fresh products must be 100 percent grown in Hawai`i;
  • value-added products (processed agricultural and food products) contain primary agricultural product that is entirely produced in Hawai`i; and
  • products must meet quality standards set by the state and trade associations.

A licensing fee of one-half cent per impression or 105 percent of the printing cost for Seals of Quality stickers will be collected.  The fees will be used to offset the cost to administer, market and promote the program.  The program is initially being funded by HDOA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Fund.

Products with the Seals of Quality are already making their way on to local supermarket and store shelves and a statewide media campaign is being designed to promote the program.

“The Seals of Quality will differentiate premium Hawai`i agriculture and products from the rest,” said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, Chairperson of the Hawai`i Board of Agriculture.  “Hawai`i has one of the strongest brand identities in the world and protecting it will add value to the best commodities Hawai`i has to offer.”

As part of the marketing campaign, several prominent Hawai`i chefs have signed on with the program, including:  Sam Choy, Mark Ellman, Beverly Gannon, George Mavrothalassitis, Peter Merriman, Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong.  Seals of Quality products will also be featured at a trade show later this month in Fukuoka, Japan.

HDOA continues its efforts to recruit more Hawai`i companies to participate in the program.  Those interested may contact HDOA’s Agricultural Development Division, Market Development Branch at:  (808) 973-9595 or e-mail at hdoa.md@hawaii.gov

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Founding Members of the Hawai`i Seals of Quality Program:

Green Point Nurseries
Anthuriums and Tropical Flowers
Harold Tanouye, President

Hawaiian Vanilla Company, Inc.
Vanilla Products
James Reddekopp, President

Kamiya Gold, Inc.
Laie Gold Papayas
Kenneth Kamiya, President

Kona Pacific Farmers Cooperative
Coffee
Sotero Agoot, Manager

Hamakua Spring Country Farms
Tomatoes, Bananas and other produce
Richard Ha, President

Nalo Fresh, Inc.
Salad Greens
Dean Okimoto, President

Alii Kula Lavender
Lavendar products
Lani Weigert, Director of Marketing & Public Relations

The North Shore Cattle Company
Grass-Finished Beef
Dr. Calvin Lum, President

Paradise Flowers Farms, Inc.
Floral leis
Craig Rasmussen, President

Twin Bridge Farms
Asparagus, Potatoes and Tomatoes
Milton Agader, President

Kamauoha Farms
Noni products
La`akea Kamauoha, President

Manoa Honey Company
Honey
Dr. Michael Kliks, President
Seal of Quality Partners:

Heritage Trading, Inc.
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Dr. William Cheuk, President

Sun Globe Food
Tokyo, Japan

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For more information, contact:

Janelle Saneishi
Public Information Officer
Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Phone: (808) 973-9560
E-mail: hdoa.info@hawaii.gov