New Management for the REAL® Seal: Questions from Industry
Why did the National Milk Producers Federation assume management of the REAL® Seal?
One of NMPF’s principal missions is protecting the integrity and value of dairy products. It also has expertise in dairy food labeling requirements and the regulatory process affecting dairy product standards of identity. The REAL® Seal is “the” logo that allows for differentiation between real dairy foods and imitations or substitutes. With its links to dairy producers and its dedication to protecting dairy product integrity, NMPF can provide guidance that will help grow both the program and sales of real milk and dairy products.
What are NMPF's goals for the REAL® Seal?
The growth in imitation, substitute, and analog products requires a collective response from the dairy industry. NMPF is well-positioned to provide that response while continuing to guarantee that products bearing the REAL® Seal are produced with milk from U.S. cows. This will maintain confidence in the safety of dairy products in light of concerns regarding imports.
Has NMPF made any changes to the administration of the program since assuming management?
No. The program is being operated, as in recent years, with all administrative functions being carried out by Marketing Concepts, Inc., of Cross Plains, Wisconsin. Marketing Concepts, Inc. acted as administrator under the previous management and has been retained by NMPF to provide similar services.
What types of changes have been made to communicate to consumers the benefits of products carrying the REAL® Seal?
The first order of business has been to make the REAL® Seal website more informative for consumers. Until recently, the site had been geared mostly to dairy processors and food manufacturers and has largely served an administrative function. It now contains information valuable to consumers looking for real dairy products and food made with real dairy products, including a guide to those companies and their products using the REAL® Seal.
A Facebook page was launched to carry the message to the REAL® Seal’s target audience, dairy product consumers from the age of 22 to 45, because they are the generations less familiar with the REAL® Seal and what it means.
NMPF is expanding those eligible to use of the REAL® Seal to include foods made using dairy ingredients.
How can the REAL® Seal be expected to impact purchase decisions regarding imports?
Many consumers are unlikely to realize that use of the REAL® Seal is limited to products manufactured from milk from cows in the United States. To remedy this, NMPF is adding complementary graphics specifying genuine “American Made” dairy products.
How will the fee NMPF is charging for using the REAL® Seal be used?
As the anniversary date of a company's product certification comes up, an annual fee for users of the REAL® Seal will go into effect. Funds collected will go toward the marketing effort being put forth to raise consumer awareness and encourage consumers to look for products carrying the REAL® Seal.