If you're a beekeeper, hopefully your hard work has paid off in the form of the world's perfect food--honey. Perhaps you've been bottling some of your honey to share with friends and family. Or, you might even be selling your honey locally. With a little planning and thought, however, it may be possible for you to expand your 'hobby' into a lucrative business by selling honey to a larger market base. You could even sell your honey to producers in other market segments, such as breweries and bakeries. Knowing how to market and sell your honey is the first step to sweet success.
Learn How to Sell Your Honey
Regard filtering your liquid honey as a necessary step. While honey never spoils, partially granulated honey does not sell as well as filtered, bottled honey.
Be aware that while processing honey at temperatures over 160 degrees will remove granulation and make the honey smooth, it also depletes it of natural enzymes.
Avoid calling your honey 'organic.' While honey is a natural food, bees are wild creatures and beekeepers have limited control over their feeding habits.
Consider your operating expenses when pricing your honey. For instance, toll-free phone numbers, advertising, or website expenses paid to sell your honey should be factored in.
Be prepared to complete a USDA-approved Transaction Report (TR) form (see Resources below). This is required under U.S. federal law for all 'first handlers' of honey.
Make sure that you adhere to all labeling requirements. To that end, become familiar with labeling guidelines and definitions (see Resources below).
There are 4 types of honey: comb honey (just as bees made it), liquid honey (extracted), granulated honey (a blend of 1 part granulated with 9 parts liquid honey and chilled) and chunk honey (comb honey bottled with liquid honey surrounding it). The National Honey Board provides tips and resources for beekeepers wishing to export honey (see Resources below).
If your hives have been affected by Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), also known as Fall Dwindle Disease, then you should know that the National Honey Board (NHB) has allotted $158,000 toward research on this problem. You may read the press release regarding this matter on the NHB website (see Resources below).
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