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Thread: Costco Honey

  1. #1
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    Default Costco Honey

    Apparently the big box stores are getting the message, hope others take costcos lead and source their honey...
    http://www.costcoconnection.com/connection/201209#pg69

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Costco Honey

    No wonder they're successful.

    This is gonna take some of the snobby out of my harvest.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Costco Honey

    I have a cousin that is an executive for a large corporation that sells product to Costco. He says they are the absolute best customer they have to do business with. They are very picky about product quality and want a high quality product that meets their specs. They usually want to sell just one unique product designed specifically for them and you can lose your account with them by not responding quickly and appropriately to any consumer complaints. Then, he said, there is Wal Mart and you don't even want to know what they are like to try to do business with.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Costco Honey

    Hats off Costco! Nice job!!!

    I think it is terrible how much honey we import from out side this country.
    Jeff - like me on facebook
    See my bees @ www.ozarkshoney.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Costco Honey

    ...retail at less than $3/lb. That is good for American honey producers how?

    Deknow

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Costco Honey

    DeKnow. Thousands upon thousands of customers buying real honey and becoming familiar with what it is and how it tastes, at least to some degree. Those thousands sharing it with countless thousands of others. Creating a demand that Costco alone cannot fill. With increased demand comes increased prices. Either that or keep more hives produce more honey and cut your costs in doing so. As prices rise it becomes profitable for more people to keep bees. this increases supply lower prices. The best bet is for the honey producer to be using their advantage to produce it cheaply. they can then undercut those that would step in at higher prices. IT is how the self regulating system of free enterprise works. IF $3 honey is not good enough. sell bees. let the next guy produce honey.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Costco Honey

    ...did you read the article? What do you think they claimed about their honey?

    Do you think they claimed that their honey is from the U.S.? They did not...they named two suppliers that are in the U.S., they claimed that it is at least 51% clover honey, and they claimed it was blended (how else can you maintain a flavor profile).

    Do you think they claimed that their honey is not filtered to the extent that most (or all) of the pollen in not removed? They did not....instead, they cited the USDA's grading standard for Grade A filtered honey:
    "The USDA Grading Standards define filtered U.S. Grade A Honey as “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." ....so how is their honey any better than what was reported a few months ago?

    ...and don't be fooled by the above, there is nothing about "U.S. Grade A" that implies that it is produced in the U.S. (in whole or in part).

    Also note that this whole piece is designed to address the concerns about the lack of pollen in store-bought honey (the report, which was big in the media, specifically talked about Costco...and about the fact that most of the pollen is strained out of the honey)....which they are agreeing with in this piece.

    Real honey is not a blended product. Real honey is not filtered to the point that most or all of the pollen is removed. Such blended and processed products do not build a market for real honey. Beekeepers supporting this propaganda campaign does nothing but support the "race to the bottom"....who is willing to call their product "pure honey" and sell it for the lowest price at the biggest store. Are we assured of something of higher quality than the walmart brand honey? it also claims "grade a", "all natural" and "product of the U.S." (I expect that means it was bottled in the U.S.).

    You do understand that this is Costco's way of trying to sell "store bought" honey as the equivelant of "beekeeper honey". You do understand that they are not the same thing, don't you?

    deknow

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Costco Honey

    deknow - Thanks for closely reading the fine print.

    Looking closer, the only thing you can hang your hat on is that the product is "100-percent-pure United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Grade A Clover Honey." Doesn't say where they harvested. Since "Made in USA" sounds so good, I doubt their marketing department would pass up that opportunity.

    Also, filter specs list mesh or particle size. "Ultra-filtration" means nothing.

    I'm back to my snobby self.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Costco Honey

    I have to agree with deknow. This seems more like a public relations feel good piece to me. Costco was directly mentioned in the ultra filtration report and I think this ad was damage control. The $3/pound price is exceptionally low even by American market standards.
    While the sentiment of the piece is great, I still wonder how much of it would stand up to real scrutiny.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Costco Honey

    I think this is the article and its a good one.

    http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/1.../#.UD-uvW-feYk

    After a complete read, I came away with as long as we don't have an enforceable standard, the only way you can be sure about the honey is seeing the bees foraged it.

    One reality is public perception of honey and yes the crystal clear stuff looks appealing. *Everyone's buys on price and no one remembers who was third in Le Tour de France. I'm weary of working to avoid being duped.

    I'm feeling even better about spending more on my hives than I'll spend in the store.

    Now I gotta find a farmer in VT to direct buy my maple syrup.
    Last edited by throrope; 08-30-2012 at 12:58 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Costco Honey

    Costco marks up its products by 15% unlike most other retailers who mark up 30%, they have a huge market share and sell in large quantities not 12 oz sample size. If packers are buying US honey @ $195/lb and costco is retailing it for $3, obviously volume is their business, and volume is good for the beekeepers who want to produce and sell a lot of honey. I can't sell my honey at the farm gate, too much honey for too few people, its needs to go to the cities where the population is and stores like Costco want to sell people large quantities of product, how can that be bad?

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Costco Honey

    Deknow, I second the props for reading the article for content as well. I was duped by the fancy talk and innuendos that they were selling 100% US Honey and that it was not ultrafiltered/strained. You are correct, they never mention either. Geez, I feel so dirty now. I am in total agreement now that this "feel good" article is completely meant as damage control.

    Also, I thought the same as you that $3/lb was extremely cheap.

    However, I have not ever let the price of honey in the store bother me much. Around here in the store $5/lb seems to be the general average. Other beeks on average ask $5/lb (some much less). Personally, I sell mine for $7 and have em lining out the door and coming back for more. I think the price is more about how you market it than what every one else sells theirs for. I educate my customers on what they are buying, who they are getting it from and what it really means to know your beekeeper. The conversation usually takes me less than 5 minutes to convince someone that my product is superior to any store bought honey.
    Jeff - like me on facebook
    See my bees @ www.ozarkshoney.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Costco Honey

    Yeah that darn Dean is always reading everything instead of just looking at the pictures and the headlines. I do, however, stand by my comments about the general integrity of Costco and their business model. they are a unique retailer with a wholly different customer first perspective. My source is one of the brightest and most astute people I have ever known. What exactly goes on with their honey marketing program, though, I haven't a clue. With bulk raw honey prices sitting around $2.00 per pound there dosent seem to be much of a profit margin to work with.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Costco Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozarks Honey Company View Post
    Hats off Costco! Nice job!!!

    I think it is terrible how much honey we import from out side this country.
    Demand outpaces domestic supply by 100% (I think, probably wrongly), so what do you expect? What should grocers do? "Sorry, I can't sell you what you want."? Soon out of business. An ever growing portion of our food is imported. It the way things are.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Costco Honey

    Seems to me Costco has attempted to locate the most reputable supplier they can that can also meet there volume requirement. These other issue about source. filtration etc. lies with the USDA, True Source and Kirkland. Costco is not a honey producer or processor. Never will be. The quality of the product does not lie with the retailer.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Costco Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozarks Honey Company View Post

    Also, I thought the same as you that $3/lb was extremely cheap.
    It is not. I see this price in small town IGAs around here. Grocery Stores sell products at below cost sometimes. I believe it's call a Lost Leader? Or Loss Leader? How do you suppose eggs and milk can be sold so cheaply? Shelf price has nothing to do w/ production cost. The amount of money paid to grain growers from which bread is made is similar to the cost of the plastic bag that bread is inside of.

    We beekeeper/honey sellers are used to selling one item, stores sell thousands.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Costco Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    With bulk raw honey prices sitting around $2.00 per pound there dosent seem to be much of a profit margin to work with.
    Jim, we won't know until 12 months from now whether this $2.00 per pound price is real or not. It maybe just wishful thinking, brought about by anecdotal reports. I know a guy here in NY who bought a tractor trailer load of clover from the West at $1.85/lb delivered. So, w/ the cost of transportation that could be $1.80 honey.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  18. #18

    Default Re: Costco Honey

    From my read of the article, Costco has made an effort to use US suppliers. I'd bet their jars don't list any import countries. It would appear that they process their honey the same as SueBee and other national packers have for years. The whole idea and article on Costco's side appear to be damage/image control.
    I don't see that it has any impact on the large honey producers who wholesale their production. I also don't see that it causes us little guys any harm as our customers already know they don't want over heated/filtered grocery store honey....regardless of price.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Costco Honey

    There's a documentary on Costco. It's quite informative of why they use the business model they do and it makes a lot of sense. Also, quality, or more integerity of their products is very important to them as they want to sell a quality product all the time.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Costco Honey

    It does look like the Costco honey will have both domestic and imported honey in the bottle. That's unfortunate, but my cart seems to have a bunch of stuff from other countries. Shirts, food, auto parts.....my phone and the computer I'm typing on right now. If they import honey honestly we will all be fine. It's the cheaters that really wreck it for domestic beekeepers. Good catch!!

    Honey that is blended with other honey does remain "real honey". I prefer variation in my honey flavor, but I understand the masses tolerate blending of flavors. Many wines, whisky, and many other flavors that are blended sell very well. The box of blended wine in my fridge suits me just fine. I understand it is nasty to those who know better. It does remain wine.

    Oops!! Last line of the first page DOES say they won't use any "ultra filtered" honey. I don't want my honey filtered at all, because it tastes better with the stuff in it. Not to worry it's a bit like saying McDonalds Big Mac will give prime rib a bad name. We are not getting rid of Micky D's and heated/filtered honey is here to stay. The up side....drinkers of cheap wine will eventually try the good stuff. If they were pushing pancake syrup you'd lose those customers to the maple syrup guys. One step at a time boys. Get the customer in the store first, upgrade the sale to the good stuff once they have already committed. This is how the world works. This article is good for all honest honey sales.

    These club stores make a fair profit from the $30 or so they charge every person annually to be a member. It's part of the deal, they get the profit they need upfront then you get as much as you can stand to buy basically at cost. 15% mark up might be a bit higher than what they actually do for a big jug of honey. Not much operating cost to run that new pallet of jugs into the store once the old pallet is empty. Way easier than stocking freezers with 27 pound boxes of fish sticks every day.

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