Jersey Dairy is to apply for Protected Designation of Origin status for its butters in a bid to win listings in UK supermarkets - and stop mainland rivals exploiting the Jersey badge.
The butters are currently sold in Harrods and through a distribution company to specialist shops. Discussions are already under way with a leading multiple about a listing.
If they were awarded PDO status, Jersey Dairy would be able to use the EU's blue and gold 'ring of stars' emblem to signify they were produced entirely from milk from pedigree cows on the island.
The move would allay consumer concerns about the authenticity of some butters, said Eamon Fenlon, MD of Jersey Dairy.
"Research shows that some consumers feel conned by products not made in Jersey," he said.
The regional name would also stimulate consumer interest in Jersey butter, added Jersey Dairy's head of marketing, Chris Journeaux. "You need that for entry to the UK , and the PDO status gives it a mark of authenticity," he said. "It carries a lot of kudos."
The move has already provoked consternation among some mainland UK-based producers. "It is important to understand that with Jersey dairy products, quality and luxury are inextricably linked to the breed of cow and not the locations of the herds themselves," said Rob Kennedy, marketing manager at Milk Link Ingredients Services. "It would be a shame to restrict those dairy farmers across Britain who have Jersey herds by disbarring them from having their milk turned into Jersey butter."
Jersey Dairy is working on a final draft of its application with Food from Britain. The application process could take as long as 18 months, though it could fall to 12 months if everything went smoothly, said Journeaux.
If successful, Jersey butter would become the second product on the island to secure PDO status. Only Jersey Royal Potatoes currently have PDO status.