Fearing for the integrity of its brand, the Idaho Potato Commission has asked the U.S. Potato Board to make shippers stop putting the board’s Goodness Unearthed logo on retail packaging.
On June 15 the Eagle-based commission voted unanimously to ask the Denver-based board to forbid the use of the Goodness Unearthed logo on bags, said Frank Muir, president and chief executive officer of the commission.
United Potato Growers of Idaho and other Idaho industry groups also oppose the use of the logo at retail, Muir said.
Beginning in 2007, when the USPB introduced the Goodness Unearthed logo, the commission has expressed fears that the logo would evolve from a trademark into a brand, Muir said.
“We were assured in 2007 that it would not be on bags, and it is now,” Muir said.
Jeff Raybould, a grower for St. Anthony, Idaho-based Raybould Bros. Farms and past commission chairman, also said it was his understanding the Goodness Unearthed logo would not appear on retail bags.
“It was launched as a nutritional campaign, they didn’t put the proper oversight and it got away from them,” Raybould said. “We were concerned from the beginning that would happen, and it has.”
David Fraser, USPB’s vice president of industry communications and policy, disputes the commission’s interpretation of how Goodness Unearthed was to be used.
“It’s always been intended to be used at retail,” he said. “That’s a fact.”
Also, Fraser said, the commission’s contention that the logo has become a brand is incorrect. It was intended to be a nutritional message only, and in the way it has been used thus far on retail bags, it’s still a nutritional message, he said.
The recent commission vote was spurred by news that the Goodness Unearthed logo will soon appear on retailers’ private label bags, Muir said.
The commission has two objections to the use of the logo on bags, Muir said.
One, growers in Idaho, the nation’s top potato shipper, don’t think it’s fair that they fund a national brand that rivals their Idaho brand.
Two, consumers who see the Idaho and Goodness Unearthed logos on the same bag may assume that all other Goodness Unearthed-branded bags contain Idaho potatoes.
Fraser said those objections are scheduled topics of discussion July 11 at the board’s summer meeting in Columbus, Ohio.
Earlier discussions failed to resolve the dispute. The board’s chief executive officer, Tim O’Connor, met with Muir and commission members June 14 in Boise. A follow-up phone conference was June 27.