What's the consensus on the consumer-preferred container? Is it the squeeze-bear, squeeze-bottle, or glass jar?
I've been looking around for something suitable for samples. My first idea was to get those little containers you get ketchup in at Mcdonalds, with lids.
Dadant also has a very classy 5, 6 & 7 ounce octagonal jar but it's a little pricey for a sample, might be nice to peddle a few as gift items though.
It will depend greatly on your customers. The women (sorry ladies, to lump everyone together) seem to like the bears, and so do the tourists. I get a little more for the 1# bears then 1# bottles or jars, but people buy the bears because they look cute. People with kids seem to go for the plastic vs. glass, so it does not break when dropped. I uses a number of different size glass and plastic jars and bottles, as well as the bears, to cater to my customers.
Are you doing the complete label routine, meaning nutritional label as well as branding label?
You know, something that puzzles me, but I understand the history behind it, is the selling of honey in clear jars. I have read that sunlight breaks down the enzymes in honey fairly quickly, thus degrading it to a point.
But honey is so BEAUTIFUL. The way it refracts the light. Also, I think people think they get an idea what kind of flavor it has by how dark it is.
Down here in South Alabama, I sell more of the 3lb. jugs that look like little milk jugs than anything else. I sell the smaller clear squeeze bottles, to include the bears, but for some reason those jugs move better. I figure it's because it's cheaper by the pound in that container.
I agree Michael; I was just bringing up the point about the enzymes. I also realize part of the problem was adulterated honey way back when.
I know it's apples and oranges, but the store honey suppliers obviously don't care about clearity in conjunction to qualit. Have you looked at that stuff? Most times looks lke syrup.
"Are you doing the complete label routine, meaning nutritional label as well as branding label?"
Yes, I do, but unless you are selling, I think it is around $40,000 in honey you do not have to. These labels can be bought from any of the equipment suppliers.
I print my own label (using an address label) with a picture of one of our yards and our information on it. Not waterproof, it get people's attention with the hives and mountains in the background.
The labeling requirements are on the FDA's website. For pure food products (no other ingredients) the requirements are very minimal. All that's required is the product name (Honey), Who it's produced and/or packaged by (Name, city and state), and the net weight in metric and english units. No nutritional information is required, nor is is a full street address or phone number if you are listed in the phone book or other public record. (Though I'm not sure why you wouldn't want to list full contact information).
As soon as you adulter the honey (add flavorings, fruit, etc.) then you get into the whole mix of ingredient lists and nutritional information.
for samples I use small spoons like at ice cream places. one spoon one taste no double dipping . then have one jar of lite and one of darker seams like they buy the last one they taste.
Here's what the National Honey Board says about content labeling (http://www.nhb.org/howto/labeling.html).
They say you need to apply for a small business exemption.
"*Instance when nutritional labeling is not required:
Nutritional labeling is mandatory for most foods. Products sold by companies qualifying for the small business exemption are one exception to this requirement. Small business exemptions are available to small companies (fewer than 100 employees) for products sold in small volume (fewer than 100,000 units per year). You may claim the exemption by product. For example, if you produce a linden flower honey, a tupelo honey and a creamed honey, you would examine each product separately as exempt: Did you sell fewer than 100,000 units of tupelo honey? If the answer is yes, then your tupelo honey is exempt from nutritional labeling (provided you donÂ’t have 100 or more employees). You will need to apply for this exemption in writing. To apply for the exemption, call the Food and Drug AdministrationÂ’s Office of Food Labeling at (202) 205-4561 for the proper format."
As a woman and a consumer (big time - which is why we decided to get some bees) I like the following packaging:
1. squeeze bottles like the bear. Why? All you do is open the top and squeeze some out. Very convenient and the container can be re-used. But it melts in the microwave, so it has a limited lifetime. I actually prefer the streight sided container as the curves trap honey and I think it then crystalizes faster. At least in the streight sided container, the crystalized honey stays in the very bottom.
2. Glass quarts or gallons. Easy to wash out later, goes into the recycle bin, no offgassing of plastic ethers, buying in bulk provides a moderate savings (refill the current bear bottle)
Sqeeze bears and mason jars sell the best for me along with ross rounds
P.S. H.E.B.(grocery store) had ross rounds selling for 7 dollars!!!
Might be charging $7.00, are they being sold?
I've read where most consumers prefer buying honey in increments of 1 pound or less. I would think that holds true more for the "novelty" consumer than the hard core user looking for a better bargain. The good part is that you can get a significantly better per pound price selling smaller packages.
Speaking of adulteration, there was an issue several years ago when I lived in North FL, of farmer's markets cutting their dark honey with large amounts of cheap corn syrup to lighten the color and stretch the volume. I think the FL Dept of Ag. took steps to catch and prosecute the offendors. I'm not sure how they got caught or exactly what happened to them. Thankfully, it never drew much public attention. If the public perception of the "naturalness" of honey ever wanes, it'll damage beekeeping worse than varroa.