CATCH THE BUZZ – Two New Zealand Honey Companies Merge To Increase Exports

Alan Harman

Two New Zealand Honey Companies Merge To Increase Exports - BUZZ

Taylor Pass Honey chief financial officer Kelvin Deaker (left) and managing director Darren Clifford with some of their newly branded honey. (Taylor Pass photo)

Two New Zealand honey companies have merged to create a single brand to grow business and exports into the United States and Asia, Radio New Zealand reports.

Taylor Pass Honey Co. is a merger of beekeeping business Apitech New Zealand and the Honey Co., which creates the products.

Taylor Pass managing director Darren Clifford said exports had grown 50% over the past five years and the new company would soon have the capacity to process up to 1,500 tonnes of honey each year.

It’s hoped the new brand will stand out more in overseas markets, Clifford says.

“We wanted to form a brand that represented the South Island a bit more – the rugged south,” he says.

“A lot of the consumers around the world were telling us there’s so many brands in the market now and it’s hard to define where they come from or what their sense of place might be. So this is a step in the right direction.”

The company is aiming to increase its existing 7,000 hives to 9,000 hives, Clifford says,

“The beekeeping industry and the honey industry is certainly going through some key changes and has grown considerably over the past few years.

“We are committed to growing in the South Island especially, so we’ll continue to grow hive numbers and also around volume packed.

“Our key markets are still very much Asia-based, although we are expanding into the U.S. and also looking at other markets around the world.”

Clifford says the two businesses have always worked hand-in-hand to take honey from hive to jar to market and it was time to unite them.

“It’s the same people, same product and same place, all under one name.” Clifford says.

The new company comes with new branding and a new factory to complement the existing facility.

“The beekeeping arm of the business will stay in the Taylor Pass countryside, but that factory simply isn’t large enough for the entire operation,” said Clifford.

“By the end of the year, we hope to have a new state-of-the-art factory operating with a packaging line, offices, honey shop and potentially a café.

The Taylor Pass Honey Co. facilities are to be adorned with new branding, designed to reflect the rugged landscapes of the South Island’s high country.

Clifford says the hives sit on beautiful farms in the Awatere and Waihopai Valleys, in the Marlborough Sounds and at Nelson Lakes.

“They are iconic landscapes, and we wanted our brand to reflect the home of our hives and bees and honey,” he says. “The colors emulate the golden hills of our high country and the flowers our bees feast on. They celebrate the landscapes that make Taylor Pass Honey Co. so unique.”

Taylor Pass exports nearly all its honey as branded product, with Asia a key market. Over the past five years, exports have grown at an average rate of 50% each year, making the new factory an essential move.

It will have capacity to process between 1,000 and 1,500 tonnes of honey each year, and the company has plans to grow to more than 8,000 hives over the 2016/2017 season.

We’re working with some great landowners in some amazingly remote corners of Marlborough,” Clifford says. “Each place has its own unique characteristics, and we can’t wait to see and taste the honey off them.”

Taylor Pass employs more than 30 full-time workers and up to 20 seasonal workers in peak times.

Taylor Pass produces 10 different types of honey, and the new branding uses color codes to differentiate each.

“Traditionally you would know what you were buying just at a glance, and we are trying to go back to the old way of color identification,” Clifford says. “Our colors are in muted tones, to reflect rugged South Island landscapes.”