12 Aug 2009

'Dangerous' message seen in carpet brand survey in US

12:52 pm on 12 August 2009

Wool Partners International is concerned about what it's calling a "dangerous" message being sent to farmers.

It follows a survey carried out by a rival company, Elders, showing consumers do not recognise the long-established Fern Mark brand.

The survey showed 93% of consumers in the United States luxury carpet market recognised that the company's new "Just Shorn" brand represented carpets made from sheep's wool.

Wool Partners' new Laneve brand, got no recognition.

Elders says what's more surprising is that the research highlighted a lack of recognition among consumers for Fern Mark, which has been used in the market by Wools of New Zealand for 15 years,

The brand, created by the former Wool Board to promote cross-bred wool, has been under the ownership of Wool Partners since it took over Wools of New Zealand.

Romney New Zealand has issued an open letter to wool growers stating its opposition to a proposed wool levy in light of the survey results, which it describes as "staggering".

Chair Hugh Taylor says it shows that wool programmes, which have been funded by farmers, are ineffective.

Wool Partners chief executive Ian Abercrombie says he's not surprised at the survey's results.