Cabot Creamery Cooperative is removing “Vermont” from its labels, and that has Vermont state government officials worried that their state is losing a bit of its free publicity. The farmer-owned cooperative, which makes cheese, butter and other dairy products, is phasing out labels that reference the state’s name in the logo because not all its products are wholly Vermont-made.
One of the now retired Cabot logos has “Cabot” stamped over a green outline of the state, with the word “Vermont” next to it. Another just has the shape of Vermont under the word “Cabot.” The new one has a green barn and the words “Owned by our Farm Families in New York & New England.”
State officials are worried about the change; fearing the loss of tourism advertising via Cabot’s widespread distribution. The logos and state mentions help promote other Vermont products and tourism. Lawmakers are considering a change to state law that would allow Cabot to keep the Vermont reference in its logo.
“For this Vermont boy, Cabot is Vermont and Vermont is Cabot,” Gov. Peter Shumlin said in an interview Tuesday. The state is quite stringent about its name being applied to products. It even employs a “maple specialist” who ensures the maple syrup going out to the market tastes right, has the correct sugar concentration and is properly graded.
While Cabot has been linked to Vermont since the cooperative was founded in 1919, the state also has a tough truth-in-labeling law. If a company wants to use the state’s name to help sell butter, 75 percent of the cream must be from Vermont and 75 percent of the butter itself must be made in the state. If that’s not the case it’s got to be spelled out on the label.
Shumlin said he was working on a compromise proposal to be unveiled in the coming days “that might lead us to a solution that would preserve the integrity of the Vermont brand and enable Vermont companies like Cabot to spread the Vermont love. That’s our brand. … It’s a serious thing,” he said. Cabot’s butter is made in West Springfield, Mass., from cream sourced from around New England, said Roberta MacDonald, Cabot’s vice president for marketing. MacDonald said Cabot agreed with Burg’s concern and sped up introducing the new logo on its butter. MacDonald said the company is switching over to the new packaging without Vermont on the logo as it runs out of its existing packaging stocks.
“Vermont will still be on our labels, it’s just not going to be on our logo….nothing else is changing. We’ve still got our roots in Vermont. We’ve got about 600 employees and a $100 million investment in Vermont. We’re very committed to Vermont.”