Branding, trademarking and otherwise giving seeds labels they will carry with them through the supply chain seem to be more prevalent than ever.

The acceptance of true branding by commodity purveyors is essential, said Art Abbott, president and chief executive officer of Feasterville, Pa.-based Abbott & Cobb.

“The problem is most cannot even define it accurately,” Abbott said. “We believe that true brand is a contract that you make with consumers that you never breech.”

It is about consistency of appearance, eating quality and supply, he said, and the company’s seed genetics are the starting point.

The company markets propriety varieties under a slew of brand names, including SuperSeedless watermelon, Summer Flavor watermelon, Summer Sweet corn, SummerDew honeydew melon, and XLT, XLS and XLN Melon.

In general, Atlee Burpee, eastern sales manager for Yokohama, Japan-based Sakata Seed Corp. said he’s seeing more branding from seed companies.

“Variety branding is becoming much more important,” Burpee said. “The seed industry is more competitive than ever, and to be successful, we have to bring the message of our genetics directly to the produce industry and the consumer.”

Even with the increasing capabilities of genetic marking, and even though the product launch process is much faster, Burpee said there are not as many genetic breakthroughs as in the past.

“Success depends now more than ever on fundamental sales and marketing skills,” Burpee said.