The popularity of Manuka Honey has reached new levels for the native New Zealand honey. Manuka Honey has become a favorite in China. China’s high demand for Manuka Honey is driving up the production for the Manuka Honey industry.
According to Justin Bergman, “When Peter Molan, a now-retired scientist and academic in New Zealand, began researching the properties of honey more than 30 years ago, there was little demand for a type made by bees that pollinated the flowers of the native Manuka bush.” People were not interested in Manuka Honey due to its strong and unappealing flavor.
The discovery of the antibacterial properties of Manuka honey have allowed it to become well known and a globally desired honey. Manuka Honey was found to contain unique antibacterial properties that come from hydrogen peroxide in the honey. The antibacterial properties of Manuka Honey have increased its popularity and people are now rushing to buy this honey only found in New Zealand.
Spreading the word
“Manuka Honey has moved from the margins of the honey world into a globalized, multimillion-dollar industry.” Its popularity has grown and celebrity endorsements have only increased the global demand for Manuka Honey. Nonetheless, China has never been interested in the attention brought on by celebrity endorsements. Brett Hewlett, chief executive officer of Comvita, New Zealand’s biggest Manuka honey producer said, “Word of mouth has always been a key driver of our marketing activities, the thing they trust more than anything is word of mouth through a friend or relative.” The Chinese rely on the people they trust the most to make their decision about Manuka Honey consumption.
The price of rapid growth
The Chinese interest in Manuka Honey stems from their high demand for health foods. “Now demand is exploding among the affluent in China, where enduring concerns over food safety have prompted an insatiable appetite for all-natural health food products from abroad.” The high demand for Manuka Honey in China has caused the beekeepers in New Zealand to fight in order to keep up with the high demand. In the past two years, Comvita has had to double the number of hives it owns to 30,000 to maintain a steady supply of honey.
The spike in demand from China has also put pressure on producers to keep up. “We’re honestly not able to meet the full demand,” Hewlett admitted. Along with high demands comes high profits for New Zealand beekeeping industry. “It’s like a gold rush going on,” Molan said. The Manuka Honey demand has increased the profits made from the honey. As the Manuka Honey demand continues to grow New Zealand will continue to find ways to keep up with the supply of Manuka Honey.