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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Prior Lake, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    27

    Default Raw honey: marketing standards

    I've been beekeeping for seven years. My main market for my honey is at an entertainment center gift shop (uniformed customers) and at three local food co-ops (semi-informed customers).

    I've been rather isolated in my beekeeping, just doing what I do and buying more equipment... not attending beekeeping meetings or reading apiculture magazines. Here is a funny story about my never having heard of raw honey. Raw honey, sounds gross, like raw meat.

    Four years ago, we did a taste testing at a local co-op. Our stand was positioned just across from the honey section. We had brought a frame of bees in my traveling observation hive. Many were drawn in and it was fun to interact with the end-user. However, those introverted honey buyers who did not come over looked over the stores honey selection and avoided our local honey and purchased either stuff labeled raw or organic honey from Brazil.

    One customer said he would never buy our honey. It was liquid honey. It wasn't raw. I just harvested it two weeks ago!!!

    Several more customers asked if our honey was raw. I didn't even know what raw honey was!

    So when I got home I did some internet research. I don't cook my honey. I don't filter my honey to remove pollen grains or tiny of wax. I do strain out the drowned bees and chunks of wax. I bottle my Jan-May honey orders come in, so I decrystallize my honey at 100 to 110 degrees (within the biological norm of a hive), never more than 18 hours. I use a heated knife to uncap my honey. So am I raw? ...

    I'd love to just bottle most of my honey right away and market it as raw and not worry about crystallized honey (My honey crystallizes with chunky crystals).

    Not sure what I'm asking or telling... but my main problem with "raw" honey is that there is no set definition as to what raw honey is. That is there is no USDA (or other agency) definition for me to follow that make me comfortable marketing my honey as raw.

    On our jars, we currently state, "we never heat nor filter our honey to remove its natural properties."

    Thoughts?!?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,165

    Default Re: Raw honey: marketing standards

    Then your honey is definately raw, uncooked honey. I doubt you are using a complicated filter that would require the honey to be hot and forced thru at high pressure, SO, your honey is indeed Raw Strained Honey. Those are the buzzwords the customers are now looking for. If your nanny state allows, have some samples available. I used to make pull apart buns the size of marbles and use them to offer samples on. You have to to talk those people in. It is just like calling ducks into decoys, say enough but not too much. Make sure the customers know that you are the beekeeper. That matters too.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tyrone, Pennsylvania,USA
    Posts
    353

    Default Re: Raw honey: marketing standards

    The other day i stopped in a health food store just to see what kind of honey they have.They were selling "Very Raw Honey"that's what they were calling it.The honey was not filtered at all as far as i could tell and they were charging more for it.They had other types of raw honey also.
    It gave me a few ideas to try out.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Prior Lake, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Raw honey: marketing standards

    I had to laugh at the brand "Really Raw Honey"... the label is hilarious! They say they have the crown jewels of the bees in the honey: propolis. They really have to go out of there way to get propolis in the jar. I bought it... I thought it smelled rank... not like fermented honey but like something died. They also have bits of bees in there.

    However the semi informed consumer can be confused by all the "buzz" words on the label.

    The WORST label is from Y.S. Honey Farm (organic Brazillian raw honey). Basically its says that if you don't eat their honey how on earth can you possiblity be alive. It doesn't really say that, but it's sooo over the top. But at the honey tasting I did, the introverted honey buyers that would not come near use picked up either Really Raw Honey or the Y.S. Honey Farm Organic Raw Honey.

    I have no problem with other folks selling honey (I love tasting honey from all over), but I don't like marketing gimmicks.

    I'll dig out the jars I have of these honey's that I have so I can properly quote the labels.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
    Posts
    1,246

    Default Re: Raw honey: marketing standards

    as far as marketing standards you can make up your own. as far as I know there are none. the term raw honey tends to confuse the public. they can relate better to natural, not heated, unfiltered etc. heating to 110 or 120 degrees is not heated as far as Im cocerned because this could be done naturally in the hive. common sense is to at least filter thru a screen to remove foreign parts. this results in a natural product but they have to understand it will granulate as this is normal. so many think it is spoiled when it granulates.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Sao Paulo, Brazil
    Posts
    19

    Exclamation Re: Raw honey: marketing standards

    I think the word "raw" is a opposition to "pasteurized". Some US packers do pasteurize honeys before packaging, I think this is the meaning of "raw honey", ie., "not pasteurized".

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    omaha nebr. USA
    Posts
    494

    Default Re: Raw honey: marketing standards

    I have adopted new honey sales guidlines in the past months.
    I explain were the honey comes from & how warm mother nature may have heated the honey when it was on the bee hive & explain that our floor heat in our " warm room " is set at 85 degrees.
    I do not argue the GMO and or the organic thing.
    I had one honey cust tell me that I did not try hard enough to produce organic honey like other beekeepers do as they do know how to control what flowers there bees visit.
    I lost a 20 bucket order this fall as the bee keeper that got the order explained to the coop people that our extraction system rendered our honey no longer natural or a raw honey product.
    I have also found that the KISS sales method works very well ( Keep It Simple Silly ) and that is
    " I have local honey for sale & you don't. "

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    souris, manitoba, canada
    Posts
    782

    Default Re: Raw honey: marketing standards

    Good to hear from you John, can you upgrade us on the crop in the Southern Hemisphere,quantity,quality and current prices

    Pasteurized honey is honey that has been heated in a pasteurization process (161 F (71.7 C) or higher). Pasteurization destroys yeast cells. It also liquefies any microcrystals in the honey, which delays the onset of visible crystallization. However, excessive heat exposure also results in product deterioration, as it increases the level of hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and reduces enzyme (e.g. diastase) activity. Heat also affects appearance (darkens the natural honey color), taste, and fragrance.[46]source wiki

    IF honey is pasteurized why the infant warning on the label?
    Endospores are able to survive boiling at 100C for hours, Source Wiki,In my opinion you cannot pasteurize honey, if you did it would be black junk,gunk.
    BeeMaid confuses the consumer in Canada by selling both pasteurized and non pasteurized, the non pasteurized is the hotter seller.CFIA is thinking of dropping this clasification all together... wise move

    Raw honey is honey as it exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction, settling or straining, without adding heat (although some honey that has been "minimally processed" is often labeled as raw honey).[47] Raw honey contains some pollen and may contain small particles of wax. Local raw honey is sought after by allergy sufferers as the pollen impurities are thought to lessen the sensitivity to hay fever (see Other medical applications below).
    Sorce wiki
    Very difficult to process,filter honey without heat and any heat destroys some enyemes,flavour etc

    Filtered honey is honey of any type that has been filtered to the extent that all or most of the fine particles, pollen grains, air bubbles, or other materials normally found in suspension, have been removed.[48] The process typically heats honey to 150–170 F (approx. 65–77 C) to more easily pass through the filter. Filtered honey is very clear and will not crystallize as quickly, making it preferred by the supermarket trade.source wiki

    It would seem some marketing ploys are out to test the consumers IQ ,or confuse him but never truly inform him,her
    Probably not to far down the road the honey label is going to have to contain more, whether it contains GMO pollen,the actual sugars contained in the product, HMF level,the beehive it came from, whether it was sunny or cloudy the day it was harvested...of course this will be when honey in the drum is $10 /LB and the normal average crop is 300 lbs plus

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Madison, Alabama
    Posts
    356

    Default Re: Raw honey: marketing standards

    I have had customers ask me if my honey is "Raw". Usually they mean has it been heated or pressure filtered.
    Last edited by Rohe Bee Ranch; 03-06-2012 at 02:19 PM.
    Rohe Bee Ranch "Free Range Bees"
    http://www.rohebeeranch.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,067

    Default Re: Raw honey: marketing standards

    "Not everything found on the internet is true." Start off w/ that. But, trying to convince anyone of anything they don't already half believe is futile and won't get you customers.

    To make what RRH wants, simply uncap frames of honey right into the extractor using a hive tool, the hooked end. I have done it that way for them before. You may have to keep the particulate matter suspended by stirring. We used a canoe paddle.

    I do refer to it as dirty white honey. Franz might not like hearing that though. Nice guy though. Very friendly and easy to talk to.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
    Posts
    1,246

    Default Re: Raw honey: marketing standards

    explain to people that if it conains wax etc it is now usda grade D honey vs filtered grade A. do they want grade A or D at a higher cost.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,934

    Default Re: Raw honey: marketing standards

    Depends on the person. I had a couple stop by this past fall looking to buy a 5 gallon bucket of raw honey. They wanted to open it and sample it. So this honey was straight off our extractor which the nasty looking hunks of wax in it. Well when they stopped by it had been about 1 week from the time it was extracted so everything was floating on top. The guy wanted to check out the honey below it so we scraped the stop gunk to one side and dipped a spoon in it so he could see and taste it.

    Then he claimed it was filtered honey that we purposely threw wax on top of, as if it were raw honey it would be blended all the way thru to honey. I politely explained to him that he was wrong and in the end I said well sorry you are not believing me but I am telling you the truth about the honey. I left it at that and didn't say another word. Well apparently his wife was more impressed with the honey than he was, cause she bought 5 gallons plus another 2lbs jar.

    Just goes to show some folks are convinced they know it even when they dont!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,067

    Default Re: Raw honey: marketing standards

    I hope you charged them appropriately.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,934

    Default Re: Raw honey: marketing standards

    I charge 3.50 a lbs, plus the price of 2lber.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,067

    Default Re: Raw honey: marketing standards

    Good.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    omaha nebr. USA
    Posts
    494

    Default Re: Raw honey: marketing standards

    I am thinking of reposting my bumper sticker in my garage & at the honey house as it reads

    YA CAN"T FIX STUPID

    We to have lost customers due to a lack of " stuff " on top of a bucket of honey and or the honey was heated & filtered with the wax on top added by us to make it look proper!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,067

    Default Re: Raw honey: marketing standards

    My unheated and not strained honey sells well. It doesn't have the stuff other brands do and the label says RAW on it. I don't have to explain anything to my customers, unless they call me on the phone. Most of the honey I sell is heated and strained. I supply what stores ask for. I imagine that their customers tell them in some manner what they want.

    If someone wants something I don't have, I either say "Thank you for considering my Honey." or, if it seems as though they may have an open mind, so many people don't, I will take the time to explain to them how the honey is handled. I stay away from the word "processed". It leads to assumptions.

    I understand your impulse soupcan, but, insulting customers doesn't sell honey. The customer is always right. Even when the customer is wrong, the customer is always right.

    All that being said, I got a message on my answering machine that caught me off gaurd. I almost ignored it and didn't call the person back. But, being who I am, I called the person who had questions about whether I use ethical means of harvesting honey. WHA!! I don't know if the person took my answer, like it or disliked it or simply decided to buy someone else honey. I answered htem as best I could w/out being obvious in my dismay. This sort of thing is going to happen when we put ourselves out there.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Prior Lake, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Raw honey: marketing standards

    Quote Originally Posted by beeware10 View Post
    explain to people that if it conains wax etc it is now usda grade D honey vs filtered grade A. do they want grade A or D at a higher cost.
    Having bits of wax in the honey does not make it grade D! In fact, I was very surprised when reviewing the grading standards how little clarity / suspended solids factored into the grading process. Also, clarity drops out as a grading factor when grading strained honey (not when grading filter honey).

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