New Zealand’s apiculture industry has embarked on a collective story-telling drive to educate ‘conscious foodie’ consumers offshore about its diverse range of native honey varieties.

Apiculture New Zealand has joined forces with New Zealand Story to create a suite of compelling promotional material about lesser known honey varieties.

Karin Kos, Chief Executive of Apiculture New Zealand says although mānuka honey continues to yield strong export prices and has provided a ‘halo effect’ for other New Zealand honeys, the shrinking margins for non-mānuka styles mean producers are now competing in a commoditised market.

“Over the past few years, New Zealand beekeepers producing non-mānuka honeys have seen a dramatic fall in their honey prices,” says Kos. “Our challenge as an industry is to raise the profile of all New Zealand honeys, and over time, establish a price premium. The New Zealand honey story is the start of that work.”

The honey sector ‘story’ aims to educate offshore markets about the sector’s broader unique flavour qualities, in the same way the wine industry has diversified its offering.

“New Zealand produces a variety of honey from native monofloral plants unique to the country. As a result, we have honey flavours unlike anywhere else, and while the mighty mānuka has given us a honey profile envied around the world, it is time to let other honeys, like rātā, kāmahi and pōhutukawa, shine.

“The New Zealand honey story puts a spotlight on lesser known but similarly beautifully flavoured honeys while giving our beekeepers a much-needed boost to their export game.”

NZ Story Head of Engagement Sarah Morgan says the honey sector ‘story’ encompasses free videos, imagery, exporting facts and messaging, ready to be shared in international markets.

“The suite we’ve created recognises beekeepers need to create unique country of origin stories with high-quality assets that can be leveraged in their own material.”

“Consumer research also points to a growing segment of conscious ‘foodie’ consumers who are ideally placed for the industry to target with this material.

“In addition to premium taste, these foodies care where their products come from and how they are produced. The local industry’s connection to the regeneration of the natural world makes for prime positioning with these consumers.”

To create the assets, a group of exporting experts collaborated to define what sets New Zealand’s honey industry apart from the rest of the world. The group included representatives from the industry association, Apiculture NZ, Egmont Honey Limited, Himatangi Country Estate, Leef and Co. Group Ltd., Southern Alps Honey, Midlands Apiaries, Pūtake, Plant & Food Research and Onuku Honey.

The exercise identified five critical messages underlying the sector’s collective story:

  • Caring for nature’s gift: New Zealand draws on its natural habitat to produce exceptional honey products that stand out on the world stage in terms of flavour, wellness, and sustainability
  • A sensory experience: Sourced from hives located across mountain highlands or low-lying pastures, New Zealand’s wide spectrum of honey flavours and textures reflects the diversity of the country
  • Quality, protection and assurance: New Zealand is committed to protecting the quality, integrity and purity of its honey, and continually meets strict standards to remain world-leading
  • Technology and innovation: The industry leverages technology and innovation through all stages of honey production and processing to ensure products are authentic and pure
  • Kaitiaki pī: The New Zealand honey industry is driven by a passion for exemplary bee keeping practices and on nurturing their critical role as honey producers and pollinators.

Assets in the New Zealand Honey Industry story can be accessed here.