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ChemCentre honey initiative partnering with industry

ChemCentre honey initiative partnering with industry

Date Published: 26-Feb-16

ChemCentre has been engaged by the honey industry to help develop research methods that differentiate honeys by identifying key attributes or special characteristics. These characteristics in turn will deliver sustained increases in market value for the honey industry.

A consortium of 17 honey producers, representing more than 80 per cent of industry production, have invested in an industry development blueprint designed to deliver sustained growth for the industry.

The establishment of a certification process using compositional chemistry is critical to the traceability and quality measures necessary to enter high value niche markets for monofloral honeys – or honey from the nectar of a single species.

Stephen Davies, Chair of the industry coordinating research and development group, said the collaborative interaction between research providers and industry provides a powerful mechanism to drive sustained increases in market value for WA monofloral honeys.

“Certification will provide the ongoing reassurance essential to stimulate value and maintain buyer confidence,” said Mr Davies.

This sentiment is shared by international buyer One Food Honey, which has just signed a 15 year agreement with local apiarists to purchase monofloral honey products, and premium local producer Capilano - both of which support this certification imperative.

ChemCentre has acted as the research coordinator by establishing a hub of honey chemistry capability – including the Australian Genomic Research Facility, PathWest, The University of Western Australia and international honey laboratories – to both control and contain identified risks and constraints within this blueprint. Currently within Australia there is no certification for honey, and therefore this initiative is critical for the industry to retain its international credibility.

A workshop held at ChemCentre on 29 January was attended by over 70 apiarists and other honey industry representatives who confirmed their commitment to progress this research. The support from the industry and research groups has resulted in progression of an application submitted to the Department of Food and Agriculture WA’s Grower Group R&D Fund into the final stages of acceptance. It is hoped that a successful application will accelerate delivery of the research objectives.

ChemCentre Food Scientist, Ken Dods, who is managing the project application and delivery, says two unique honey varieties are identified as key drivers for WA industry advancement.

“The Jarrah and Marri monofloral honeys are unique to WA, and have attributes that appeal to health conscious and discerning buyers internationally.  Demand for these products is very high,” said Mr Dods.

“The Western Australian industry is establishing new markets for floral differentiated honeys, and producers have explored distribution of these products and achieved high market sales, with several recent contracts demonstrating values of a 10-times multiplier per kilogram than traditional blended honey markets.”

The industry recognises that to deliver its market objectives there must be an across‑industry agreement of final product quality standards for these honeys. Buyers have indicated that price will be determined by the confidence they have about a certified product, so providing that certification is critical.

ChemCentre’s provision of certified analysis of honey product composition, source and attributes can act as a catalyst for industry growth. As a result, there is dramatic potential to increase raw product value, leading to a sustainable across-industry transformation.

For more information, contact Ken Dods at ChemCentre on 9422 9902 or 0447 862 026. (Pic: honeyfanatic.com)

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