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Sweet start for the NZ honey sector after dismal 2017

The $5 billion-a-year honey New Zealand industry is on its way to recovery after one of its poorest seasons in decades last year.

The 2017 harvest was hit hard by cold, wet and windy weather over the optimal nectar-flow period, resulting in a sharp fall in production.

Karin Kos, chief executive of Apiculture New Zealand, said it was early days but that the fine weather over the important November and December months had seen the season get off to a strong start. "It's looking like a relatively good season, but it still has a couple of months to run," she said.

The season typically runs from November through to February-March, starting first in the north and then moving south as the summer wears on.

Apiculture NZ has 1000 beekeepers, honey packers, exporters and related supply companies from across the industry - from manuka honey to standard honey - as members.

For honey producers, 2017 was a year that most players would rather forget.

NZX-listed Comvita, New Zealand's biggest manuka honey producer, was hit with the double whammy of a sharp, weather-driven drop in production alongside trouble in the informal "daigou" trade channels into China last year.

The industry has been plagued with "counterfeit" manuka honey turning up in key markets such as the UK, so the sector has taken some confidence from last year's announcement from the Ministry for Primary Industries giving a tighter definition of what constitutes manuka honey.

More at NZ Herald.

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