Given the rising cost of living pressures, you may be tempted to buy the cheapest honey on the shelf. Here’s why you should think twice about that.
Honey bees are important pollinators. Their efforts contribute to larger, better quality fruit and vegetables. In fact, at least 35 Australian industries depend upon honey bees for pollination. Without them the cost of your produce will go up and some of your favourite foods may become unavailable.
Honey production is important to beekeepers. Sometimes beekeepers get paid for the pollination services their bees provide, but sometimes they don’t; it depends on the crop. Moreover, bees need food and management year round. They need ‘time off’ from pollination contracts on high quality nutritional sources to build their strength and keep them healthy. It is during this ‘time off’ that most of their honey is produced. Without honey production, to keep the beekeeping industry afloat, growers would be paying more for pollination services – and the consumer would pay more too.
Imported honey may be cheaper at face value, but none of the bees producing that honey pollinated any crops in Australia. By buying 100% Australian honey you are helping not only Australian beekeepers, but the many Australian businesses that rely upon them. This in turn keeps our market chain intact.
The honey levy. Anyone in Australia producing more than 1,500 kg of honey per year pays a honey levy. This levy supports chemical residue testing, biosecurity, and AgriFutures Australia research to improve the honey bee and pollination industry. Imported honey does not support these important programs.
Australia has some of the best honey in the world. Nectar from different plants results in different honey with a distinct and unique flavour profile. Honey can be monofloral – from one nectar source (i.e. one plant), or it could be a blend of many sources; it depends on what is available for the bees to forage on. One isn’t better than the other. Different honeys look and taste different, hence we have a diverse range of colour and flavour characteristics to choose from. They also have different antimicrobial properties. Why not try something new?
How do I tell if honey is 100% Australian?
Check the label
Look out for the “product of Australia” sticker and kangaroo logo. Underneath the kangaroo will be a bar chart – it looks like a ruler. If this is completely coloured in you know that the honey is 100% Australian.
In the video below, Julian Wolfhagen (Tasmanian Honey Company) discusses the importance of buying 100% Australian honey and how you can check the label to find out the origin of honey