Rosie Greenaway gets a taste of the bee products market and discovers a few sweet surprises along the way
Dip your spoon into a jar of Rawpot Organic Rawyal Honey and you’ll notice that after the initial expected honey flavour hits your tongue, your taste buds are surprised by a burst of certified organic lemon oil, cold-pressed straight from the juicy, sun-ripened fruits of Sicily. This little gift to the palette is perhaps indicative of where the bee products sector is going – in a direction which delivers more than the usual taste, aroma and indeed appearance of your standard jar of honey.
Sweet like chocolate
One brand diversifying the presentation of honey is Bee Like a Bee. The idea to market Wellness Pralines came about when founder Monika Holc learnt the ‘true value’ of the bee’s golden nectar, beyond common honey and beeswax. Keen to find a product which combined many unique bee substances in one, Holc worked with Dr Stângaciu, a renowned expert in bee derivatives and one of the brains behind what Romanians know as apipraline – ‘a dark chocolate praline filled with a mixture of five bee products’.
Bringing Wellness Pralines to the UK under the Bee Like a Bee label, Holc describes them as a ‘lovely treat’ or a remedy for when the body feels run down. The royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis, raw honey and apilarnil blend is sourced from a remote area of Transylvania’s unspoilt Carpathian Mountains, where traditional beekeeping customs are still observed.
Also combining bee products with the food of the gods is Honey Traditions, maker of luxury chocolate bars infused with raw honey, adorned with bee pollen and edible flowers. From white to milk, through to 68% dark, the indulgent bars are presented in attractive honeycomb-inspired packaging, lending the collection perfectly to the gifting category. Brand owners Sarah Reid and Marek Vargapal launched the range upon realizing how ‘the intricate flavours’ of their own honey and bee pollen (harvested in Vargapal’s family’s 200-hive apiary in Slovakia) could ‘enrich and complement’ chocolate.
“There is a lot more to honey than people think,” says Reid. “We harvest different types and flavours of honey throughout the year depending on what types of flowers the bees are visiting. We chose to infuse each bar with our two-star award winning Linden Honey which has a floral taste with woody and mint tones which beautifully complements the different types of chocolate.”
Whether home-grown goodies or imports, the bee products sector is a hive of activity when it comes to innovation: from The Great British Bee Company (which turns beeswax into hand-protecting balms and home fragrances) and Healthy Food Brands’ Honegar (a ‘delicious drinkable mixture of pure unpasteurized honey and the finest apple cider vinegar’), to Biona Organic (which sweetens its waffles and granolas with a generous drizzle of honey), and WaxWrap (which offers sustainable, GOTS-approved alternatives to cling film and foil), we’re certainly not short of examples of artful NPD.
And bee products are maintaining good levels of recognition in wider society too: recently Honey New Zealand became the recipient of the London Honey Awards; Unbeelievable Health’s Sarah Orrechia was a guest on the Queen Bees podcast, discussing honey fraud and the little-known health benefits of bee products with actresses Jane Horrocks (aka Bubble from Absolutely Fabulous) and Esther Coles (also a beekeeper); Bee Health was acquired by US-based company Innovations in Nutrition + Wellness; and during Organic September, Clipper Teas partnered with bee expert Dave Goulson to highlight the popular foods which would vanish from shelves if pollinators became extinct, threatening everything from avocados and runner beans to Christmas cake and ketchup.
Nature’s most hard-working creatures
Talk to Sarah Orecchia, founder, Unbeelievable Health, and nutritionist Erin McCann Galvin and they’ll tell you honeybees are ‘astoundingly well organized’ and display ‘an admirable community spirit’ as they hustle to keep the hive thriving, protecting it from diseases and varroa mites.
From pollen and propolis to royal jelly, bee products feature across the brand’s product range. Here, the pair illustrate the differences between the three: “Bee pollen is the only natural substance known to contain the full spectrum of vitamins, minerals and all of the amino acids. Bee pollen is a pre-digested food, which easily moves through the digestive tract, and is quickly absorbed and utilized by the body and contains nutrients which help enhance stamina and energy. Propolis is a truly spectacular substance which honeybees make from resins collected from plants and trees. Propolis is incredibly nutrient-dense and contains high levels of flavonoids, which are antioxidant phytonutrients responsible for its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory actions. Royal jelly has been the subject of numerous studies which show it may help ease anxiety and depression. It contains high levels of B vitamins as well as antioxidant nutrients … calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus, biotin and 17 different amino acids, including the eight essential amino acids that the human body cannot produce. Royal jelly has also been used to aid fertility, [is] anti-ageing and is also shown to have anti-inflammatory actions.”
Propolis Winter Mixture
Winter can leave your immune system running low, making you more susceptible to coughs and colds. Bee Health Propolis Winter Liquid is a versatile way of accessing the benefits of this wonderful, natural ingredient. Propolis is a natural substance collected by honey bees from buds and trees containing tree resin, essential oils, waxes and bioflavonoids. Propolis offers an array of benefits for many ailments and is one of nature’s richest sources of bioflavonoids for immune support.
Plastic-Free Sustainable Food Storage
WaxWrap is a sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to plastic wrap and aluminium foil made from 100% natural materials: organic cotton cloth coated in a mixture of beeswax, pine resin and jojoba oil. Meets the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100 approved. Use to cover bowls and containers and contain almost any food: sandwiches, vegetables, fruits, snacks, cheese and salad. Self adhesive and waterproof. Available in 3 different formats: the first Rolls in the UK (20x120cm, 30x150cm and 40x200cm), Bags/Sleeves (a set of 3 in different sizes: 21x21cm/25x25cm/32x32cm), and Cloth Sheets (a set of 3 in different sizes: 20x20cm/30x30cm/40x40cm).
Organic Bee Pollen and Wild Bee Bread
Raw Living is proud to offer two wonderful bee products, produced with sustainability and respect for the bees and their ecosystem in mind. Our Organic Bee Pollen comes from a remote area of Transylvania, and is frozen as soon as it is collected from the hives, then dried at low temperatures to ensure nutritional viability. Bee Bread is a lesser known, but even more potent product, as it is naturally fermented by the bees and so bioavailability is significantly enhanced. Our Wild Bee Bread comes from Lithuania. It has slightly larger granules than pollen, and isn’t as sweet in taste.
Tree of Life Manuka Honey Offering Great Quality & Value
Tree of Life New Zealand Manuka Honey is 100% pure and natural, harvested from the Manuka bush which provides one of the richest sources of methylglyoxal (MGO), the active anti-bacterial compound which gives Manuka honey its unique health properties. Our Manuka Honey is sourced through fair share partnerships and each batch is independently tested certifying its MGO potency, so you and your customers can be assured of the highest quality. Whilst the great value prices make health easy starting at just £12.99 RRP for 85+ MGO. Also available in 300+ MGO and 525+ MGO.
Bee calm & Bee rested
Studies show poor sleep and stress can negatively impact our health and immune system. Multi-award-winning Bee calm & Bee rested are research-based supplements formulated by nutritionists, blending highest quality plant-based nutrients in therapeutic amounts (so fewer are required) to help ease tension and anxiety and to help you nod off faster and wake up less in the night. Capsules may be opened into juices & more. They are plant based & contain no fillers & no excipients and are allergen free. British Brand. A portion of sales is donated to bee causes.
RAW Vibrant Living Honey Range
RAW Vibrant Living’s range of organic honeys are unpasteurised, unfiltered and never heated above 42°C. This means you are tasting nature’s nectar as close to direct-from-the-hive as possible. The range consists of 4 varieties, each with a different provenance with their unique flavour dictating where the bees pollenate: Pure Blossom Honey, Maya Honey, Tropical Forest Honey and Acacia Flower Honey.