Protecting Hawaii-branding

KHON - August 13, 2019
By: 
Erika Engle

You need only look at grocery store shelves to companies using Hawaii in their marketing — without any ties to the islands.

A new law may bring the mis-use of Hawaii’s brand under control.

For generations, companies have used the allure of Hawaii to market products — but at what cost?

State Senator Mike Gabbard says the cost is high.

“Personally, Erika, I think that there’s a substantial loss of money on these products.”

Shaka Tea founder Bella Hughes believes in being transparent with consumers.

“I personally don’t have a problem if a brand is from here or not, but if you say something is from Hawaii, and you specifically call out that your brand or specific ingredients are from here, they should actually be from here.”

The state will do research — to see which companies are using Hawaii place-marketing and which are actually using Hawaii ingredients in their products.

And then, Gabbard says,”The second part of the survey will be on Hawaii farmers and food processors to see which companies that they’re selling their products to.”

Lawsuits are pending against the makers of Hawaiian Kettle-Style Potato Chips and Snack Rings — and against Kona Brewing Company, because consumers believed they were made in Hawaii.
Neither company responded to our requests for comment.

Kona Brewing pubs in the islands serve their own locally produced beer, but its bottled products are made on the mainland.

A tentative settlement has been offered to consumers in that case.

Hughes, of Shaka Tea, grows mamaki and buys mamaki from other growers on Hawaii island, to make her line of teas.

“One can only imagine if there are multi-million if not billion-dollar brands out there, and they ended up deciding to source said ingredient from Hawaii, the tremendous economic impact and ripple effect that would have on our local ag economy and community.”

Gabbard says, “Once we get the data, that’s why we need those numbers, so we can sit down and meet with Bella Hughes of Shaka Tea, other companies, and bring people into a working group to see okay what are your suggestions, to me that’s part of policymaking.”

Lawmakers expect to receive the study results before the next legislative session.

https://www.khon2.com/news/protecting-hawaii-branding/