An age-old technique

Brands have existed in one form or another for centuries. The word ‘brand‘ comes from the Old Norse ‘brandr‘, which meant ‘burn / fire, torch, brand mark / flaming sword‘. It still exists today, for example in Danish as fire, and naturally the relationship with the German word ‘Brand‘ is unmistakable.

In so-called hot branding the brand marks are burned into the skin with red-hot irons. In Switzerland, the branding of cattle is prohibited. (Source: www.leder-info.de)

As long ago as 2700 BC in Egypt, animals were given a brand mark. This enabled them to be identified with their respective owners even on the common pastures. (If interested, see this copy of of a wall painting of the tomb of Nebamum, showing animals with brand marks (The original dates from Ancient Egypt, 1400-1352 BC).  In other cultures as well, cattle owners imprinted their stamp on their animals. The marks could be used for identification in case of theft or as a reference in animal purchases, to buy a healthy animal – one from a well-reputed owner – on a cattle market. This marked the birth of the ‘brand’ as a quality mark.

Brand articles in today’s sense have not been around for so long. With industrialisation, more and more products came onto the market. More products meant a wider choice for consumers and hence more competition for companies. To differentiate their products from others and stand out from the crowd, brands were created. From then on, these guaranteed the unvarying and good quality of the products. At the end of the 19th century, trademark protection laws were introduced in various countries.

The Natura-Beef brand was launched in 1980 by the members of Suckler Cow Switzerland (then the Swiss Association of Nurse Cow and Suckler Cow Breeders) and was protected seven years later by the Federal Office for Intellectual Property.

In the fresh products area, it seems that brands have not been around for all that long. When the Natura-Beef brand was created 40 years ago and then protected, branding in the meat market was still unknown. Nowadays, Natura-Beef is one of the best-known meat brands in Switzerland, and as at the outset stands for good meat quality and species-appropriate animal husbandry. The calf grows up in the family group and is outside or on the pasture on a daily basis.

(Sources: www.nordicnames.de, en.wiktionary.org, www.touregypt.net, The Hot History & Cold Future of Brands, www.absatzwirtschaft.de)

For 40 years, the Natura-Beef brand has stood for good meat and species-appropriate animal husbandry. (Photo: mad)