A beekeeping hobby that started in “grandma’s backyard” in Arkles Bay is stepping into the big league this month with the launch of a line of five flavoured honeys.
Surfing buddies, James Miles and Francis Morton-Jones, is the team behind f&j NZ, which has secured a contract with major supermarket chain Foodstuffs.
As a result, the company’s Nectavia honeys will start appearing on supermarket shelves before Christmas.
James says it has been a pretty taxing 12 months getting through the paperwork, but they are pretty excited to be finally in a position to launch the honeys into mainstream markets. Up until now, the product has only been available in a select few outlets.
The flavoured honeys were developed through trial and error at a laboratory in Constellation Drive on the North Shore.
James says that initially, they were looking for a lemon honey that could be marketed as a cold-relieving remedy. But the citric levels in the lemon proved a tough nut to crack so they turned instead to ginger. The result showed them that they were on the right track so with more experimentation, they came up with ginger, rose, cacao, mango and matcha (green tea). And, there are another five in the pipeline.
“There’s quite a science to getting the blends right,” James says.
“Our goal is to change the way people look at honey – what we’ve got is not just another honey product, it is something entirely new with all natural ingredients and no added salt or sugar.”
James says the potential for the flavoured honeys is enormous and early marketing has been promising.
Far from being just a spread on toast at home, they see it being used in restaurants and bars, for everything from desserts to cocktails.
Both James and Francis maintain fulltime jobs outside the honey business – James is a paid firefighter on the North Shore and Francis works for a packaging company.
Their honey is supplied from nine commercial beekeepers, located between Whakatane and Kerikeri.
“We will eventually have to increase the number of beekeepers we work with, but we’re definitely not looking at the export market. We decided early on not to concentrate on the lucrative but more risky manuka honey market.
Hibiscus Matters has a pack of the new Nectavia honey range to give away. To be in to win, ‘like’ our Facebook page and private message us your details to go in the draw. Or write Nectavia Honey Range competition, your name, address and daytime phone number on the back of an envelope and post or drop into Hibiscus Matters, 21 Florence Avenue, Orewa. Entries close November 8.