• Coffee Labeling Bill Passes

    May 01, 2024
    A picture containing text, ceramic ware, porcelain

Description automatically generated

    Bill advocates for the credibility of local coffee products and protects Hawaiʻi farmers
    Kona, Hawaiʻi – A coffee labeling bill to protect local farmers and preserve the authenticity of Hawaiʻi -grown products has passed the 2024 Legislative Session and is expected to become law upon the governor's signature.
    House Bill 2298 CD1, introduced by Representative Nicole E. Lowen, mandates that beginning July 1, 2027, any coffee labeled or advertised with a Hawaiʻi geographic origin must consist of at least fifty-one percent coffee by weight from that geographic region. The current requirement, set at ten percent, means that coffee products can be labeled as a specialty product from a specific region when in fact ninety percent of what is being sold is not from that region. This measure aims to protect Hawaiʻi's origin products, combat deceptive labeling, and ensure that products that bear regional names contain at least a majority of product from that region.
    "This initiative is about protecting Kona's world-renowned coffee and ensuring that local farmers receive the prices they deserve for their products, and that dollars stay in Hawaiʻi's economy," said Representative Nicole E. Lowen (D-7 Kailua-Kona, North Kona, South Kohala). "The percentage of Kona Coffee required for it to be labeled Kona should be 100 percent, but given that this is the first progress made on this in more than thirty years, it’s a huge win."
    For over three decades, the debate over the required percentage of coffee originating from the geographic area to qualify as Hawaiian coffee has persisted, with existing regulations set at a minimum of ten percent. In 2022, the Legislature passed Act 222, which requested that the HDOA conduct a study on the impact of coffee labeling laws on coffee farmers and to determine the economically ideal proportion of Kona beans in products marketed as Kona coffee.
    "By gradually implementing an increase in minimum standards, this bill protects the integrity of all regional coffee brands in Hawaiʻi, like Kona and Kaʻū, and supports our local farmers," said Representative Kirstin Kahaloa (D-6 Hōnaunau, Nāpō‘opo‘o, Captain Cook, Kealakekua, Keauhou, Hōlualoa, Kailua-Kona).
    On January 18, 2024, the HDOA submitted the Final Report on the Economic Study on Changes in Coffee Labeling Law. The report highlights that increasing the minimum amount of Kona coffee from 10 percent to either fifty-one percent or one hundred percent would be advantageous for local farmers, with a higher increase providing the most benefit. Additionally, the report anticipates that proposed labeling changes could result in a price increase for Kona coffee while seeing minimal impact on quantities grown or sold.
    “For too long, we have allowed products that are not Kona coffee to use the Kona coffee name and reputation for profit at the expense of farmers. This law is a step forward in doing the right thing for Hawaiʻi's farmers and supporting their economic growth,” said Representative Jeanne Kapela (D-5 Portions of Kea‘au and Kurtistown, Mountain View, Glenwood, Fern Forest, Volcano, Pāhala, Punalu‘u, Nā‘ālehu, Wai‘ōhinu, Hawaiian Ocean View, Ho‘okena).
    "HB2298 CD1 is a pivotal advancement in our ongoing commitment to safeguarding the integrity of Hawaiʻi’s cherished agricultural industries. By requiring a majority percentage of coffee from the specified geographic region in labeled products, we’re not only protecting our farmers’ livelihoods but also ensuring that consumers receive authentic, high-quality coffee synonymous with our beloved regions like Kona and Kaʻū. This legislation reflects our dedication to fostering a sustainable and transparent agricultural sector, one that honors our traditions while promoting economic prosperity for generations to come.  I look forward to continuing the work ahead to further strengthen and preserve the rich heritage of Hawaiʻi’s coffee industry for all," said Senate Majority Leader Dru Mamo Kanuha (D- 3 Kona, Ka‘ū, Volcano).
    "This session, the Legislature was able to pass out a bill that ultimately supports our coffee farmers and in reality, the whole coffee industry in the State of Hawai‘i. By increasing the required percentage of Hawai‘i regional coffee to fifty-one percent for the use of geographic monograms, we are raising standards, enhancing transparency in labeling, and will ultimately advance the coffee industry over time. Mahalo to the coffee processors and farmers who worked together to find middle ground," said Senator Tim Richards (D-4 North Hilo, Hāmākua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, North Kona).
    • HCFCU_2024_Rec_KKCC_520x700-(1)-Jun-2024.jpg
    • BICC-MM-ad-12.29.23.png
    • Blue-Ocean-Mariculture-MM-Dec-2023.jpg
    • Fairmont-Orchid-Binchotan-Happy-Hour-2024.jpg
    • Goodfellow-The-Source-SQ.png
    • First-Island-Real-Laure-1.8.23.jpg
    • HE-Energy-Power-to-Save-Guide.png
    • Hawaii-Water-Service-2020-10-30-HI_FullPage_TheSource_v4.jpg
    • Kona-Commons-Dresses-2022-MM.png
    • Keauhou-Shopping-Center-Best-of-2023-(600-x-600-px)-(1).png
    • New-STADIA_DigitalAd_Apr2024_1300x1300.jpg
    • KS-ABays.png
    • Southwest-The-Source2022-SQ.png
    • PS-Plumbing-MM-ad_12.27.23.png
    • Cantor-Bros-Temp.jpg
    • Hope-Services-Hiring-2.14.24.png
    • RES-KKCC-2024MM.png
    • HFS-FCU-The-Source-Ad-2024.png
    • HI-Comm-Health-Ctr_SQ.png
    • Pacific-Waste-27yrs-2024.png
    • Barnett-2022-8.4.22-Marketplace-ad-SQ.png
    • Kaiser-Permanente-Ad-QuarterPage_111522-2023.jpg
    • ALTRES---KKCC-The-Source---Full-page-ad_Final_bleed-2023.png
    • KTA-Best-West-2023.png
    • Waikoloa-Plaza-4.26.23.jpg
    • Cyanotech-Ohana-11.3.21.jpg
    • Mauna-Kea-2022-MKR-Dining-5.31.22.jpg