Cashing in on the "Hawaii" brand
What is being done to protect local companies, with their “made in Hawaii” label?
Cashing in on the "Hawaii" brand. For some new products, a familiar name can make or break it.
At the Daniel K. Akaka American Logistics Association Hawaii Food Show, hundreds of products were displayed for buyers of the military commissaries and exchanges to see and sample.
Some are familiar, while others are brand new. But many catch the eyes, or taste buds, of buyers because they are from Hawaii.
"When we work with mainland buyers, they are looking for something made in Hawaii. Something that is unique to the islands," Reed Tanaka, Aloha Shoyu business development manager said.
"Hawaii has so many different flavors and exotic things here. Anyone who was stationed here, like I was, it brings back memories," added Retired Rear Admiral Robert Bianchi, who is now the Special Assistant for Commissary Operations.
Companies picked to sell their products with military commissaries could get a big boost to business, as there are hundreds of exchanges around the country and the world.
Some of the products are grown in the islands, like Hawaiian Humus.
"We wanted to make something that was locally grown here instead of importing garbonzo beans. We're just using something that literally grows in our backyards," Loren Shoop, the owner of Ulu Mana said.
Shoop uses the Hawaiian name, to market his breadfruit humus.
"Breadfruit is called ulu but instead of calling it ulu humus, who knows that? People may be reluctant to try that, so that is why I came up with Hawaiian Humus. That has appeal, and people may say let me go and try it," Shoop added.
There are plenty of products with the Hawaii brand: from water, to coffee and sweetbread.
"Hawaii is a big seller, a big seller, people recognize the name," Aaron Badart, with the Goodness Corporation said.
His products are available in Hawaii, but they are not made in Hawaii, as least not yet.
"Leelin Bakery and Cafes, we have six locations in southern California and we're going to be expanding here to Hawaii," Badart stated .
Some local businesses tout their "Made in Hawaii" label, to show that a majority of a product's content or manufacturing happened in the islands.
"We're in the Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association, and we usually have labels on our products showing they were made in Hawaii. That is what we use for advertising for the stores and what not," Ron Tanabe, Hawaii Candy vice president said.
The state regulates the "Made in Hawaii" brand. It can issue fines to companies that mislabel their products, but does not require a product with "Hawaiian" or "Hawaii" in its name to have any association with the islands.
The labels may be misleading consumers, but not all local businesses say mainland companies with the Hawaii brand name hurts their own sales.
"I'd rather it not be, but spreading the word "Hawaiian" as big as you can, will help me in the end," Shoop added.
There is an easy way to check to see if a Hawaiian named product is really from here, just look at the where it was made. By law, it has to show the name and location of the business behind the product.