The Real Seal, the iconic milk droplet with the word Real inside, has been identifying dairy products for more than 30 years. Last week, this symbol made headlines as it was announced that the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) is taking over the program’s management from the United Dairy Industry Association.
Generations of dairy farmers, dairy promoters and dairy princesses have told consumers to look for this mark on dairy products to make sure they were made with milk. The program was developed at a time when imitation cheese and margarine were getting footholds in the American diet.
The seal has lost some of its marketing clout in recent years as new ad campaigns and marketing efforts leapfrogged ahead of the seal. There is still pressure in the dairy case for a share of the consumer food dollar. I believe the seal can still have an impact.
Reinvestment may have begun. Although the program will not undergo any immediate changes, NMPF said the process has begun to determine how to make the Real Seal an even more effective marketing tool for dairy product manufacturers, processors and food service providers. They are also looking to utilize the Real Seal as a way to differentiate American-made dairy foods.
It will be interesting to see how the Real Seal will evolve to serve dairy farmers and consumers for the next generation.
-- Charlene Shupp Espenshade, Special Sections Editor