By Stan Maddux
ARDEN HILLS, Minn. – Your package of Land O’ Lakes butter may look different. Since 1928 a Native American woman known has Mia has graced the company’s products. However, she is now being replaced.
The brilliant setting of lakes and woods she posed in on her knees while holding a package of Land O’Lakes butter, though, lives on. In the outdoor setting now will appear Land O’ Lakes member farmers to showcase what the company described as ‘’its greatest strength.”
“As Land O’ Lakes looks toward our 100th anniversary, we’ve recognized we need packaging that reflects the foundation and heart of our company culture and nothing does that better than our farmer-owners whose milk is used to produce Land O’ Lakes dairy products,” said Beth Ford, president and CEO of the Arden Hills, Minn., based company.
The new packaging has started appearing on tub butter spreads, food service products, and deli cheese and will begin showing up on stick butter during the spring and summer, company officials said. All of the products are expected to feature the revised logo by the end of this year.
“Research shows that consumers care about farmers and are excited when they learn Land O’ Lakes is farmer-owned. We’re eager to share that message with shoppers and extending that farmer-owned story to our packaging is arguably the most direct vehicle to communicate with consumers,” said Heather Anting, senior vice-president of Land O’Lakes U.S Dairy Foods.
In the 1950s, the late artist Patrick DesJarlait made adjustments to the original art and that look has been on the packages ever since. His son, Robert, also an artist, has mixed feelings about his father’s legacy disappearing from refrigerated grocery store shelves.
“I’m sad to see it go. We live in a politically correct time, so maybe it was time to get rid of it,” DesJarlait said. DesJarlait said his Minnesota native father was an Ojibwe and feels the logo rooted to his Indian
Other Native Americans like Peggy Flanagan, the lieutenant governor of Minnesota and member of the White Earth Band tribe, applauded the move.
“Thank you to Land O’Lakes for making this important and needed change,” she said in a tweet. “Native people are not mascots or logos. We are very much still here.” Flanagan said.
According to the company, Land O’ Lakes began in 1921 when 320 dairy farmers in 1921 met in St. Paul, Minn., to form the Minnesota Cooperative Creameries Association. Their mission was to effectively market and distribute the dairy products of members across the country. The group expanded 8-years later into agriculture services and feed businesses.
Land O’ Lakes now has more than 1,700 members operating businesses and brands ranging from Land O’ Lakes Dairy Foods, Purina Animal Nutrition, Winfield United and Land O’ Lakes SUSTAIN.
Winfield United, for example, delivers seed crop protection products and other services like agronomic insights to 1,300 locally owned and operated cooperatives and independent ag retailers and their grower customers, company officials said.
Land O’ Lakes has 10,000 employees processing and distributing products for about 300,000 ag producers handling 12 billion pounds of milk annually. The company ranked 212 in Fortune 500 has $15 billion in annual sales, officials said.