Honey prices and bee population on the rise
International Demand for NZ Honey is Leading to Rise in Prices And Bee Numbers Says Country’s Oldest Brand
According to Airborne Honey, New Zealand’s oldest honey brand, rising honey prices and expanding bee populations are a result of global demand and supply.
The price of honey has been steadily increasing since 2000 but has really boomed over the last 12 months. In the year to November 2013, New Zealand honey exports reached a peak of 8,086 tonnes and $155 million, an increase of 13.5 percent in volume and 34 percent in value on the previous year. Honey prices in New Zealand supermarkets are also climbing.
“Honey prices in New Zealand are going up because there is high demand for New Zealand honey right now,” says Peter Bray, Managing Director of Airborne Honey. “New Zealand is a trading nation, an exporter of food, and has to deal with prices rising and falling in overseas markets. Those fluctuations impact local prices. International demand is continuing to outweigh supply for honey so the value of the product is remaining relatively high.”
Alongside, the increase in honey value, honeybee numbers are expanding in New Zealand and worldwide. Peter explains that honeybee populations are also market driven.
“If the beekeepers are being well rewarded by the economy, they will find enough hives and bees,” he says. “There is a myth that bees are declining in this country. In New Zealand, the number of hives has actually increased from 300,000 to 400,000 since the Varroa mite made an appearance. Growing demand for honey and a rise in foods that depend on bees for pollination are fuelling an increase in bee colonies. Many fruits and vegetables that are now mainstays – from apples to kiwi fruit – need help from beekeepers, who provide them with bees to pollinate the crops.”
Peter adds that the new Manuka honey standards that are currently being developed by the Ministry of Primary Industries, in consultation with the New Zealand honey industry, will have an impact on honey prices. This is because it is likely that with tighter guidelines and testing, a smaller volume of product will pass as genuine Manuka honey.
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