Growing demand from Australia and China boosted the value of New Zealand honey exports by 35 percent in the year ending June 2016, said a government report Friday [3 March 2017]. The report from the Ministry for Primary Industries said honey export volumes were “down slightly” to 8,831 tonnes, but revenue was up by 35 percent to 315 million NZ dollars (221.73 million U.S. dollars)…Full Article: Mar 2017

Key Points

  • According to the Chief Executive of Apiculture New Zealand, high-end honey such as Manuka honey is spurring demand.
  • In 2016, New Zealand produced 19,885 MTs of honey.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In August 2016, Australia’s Capilano Honey was accused of importing Chinese honey and blending it for resale back to China. Capilano stated that its Allowrie brand is blended with honey from China, Mexico and Argentina, but that product is only sold by the company in Australia. Sales of Allowrie on China’s e-commerce site, Taobao, is being attributed to “individual sellers” not affiliated with Capilano. Later that month, New Zealand’s Manuka Health signed a three year distribution agreement with Beijing’s Chao Pi Commercial & Trading. The Chinese distributor, Chao Pi Commercial & Trading, reportedly trades with over 20,000 commodities to approximately 20,000 retailers, including e-commerce platforms.
  • From 2012 to 2015, mainland China’s imports of New Zealander honey increased from 1,188 MTs to 2,039 MTs. Equivalent Hong Kong imports decreased from 1,405 from 1,071 MTs.
  • In 2014, Chinese honey consumption topped 350,000 MTs or roughly 260 grams per capita (Japan has per capita consumption of 300 grams). Also in 2014, China had 300,000 to 350,000 beekeepers.
  • In 2013, China produced 450,310 MTs of honey. Henan produced just over 99,000 MTs of honey or approximately 22% of China’s total output. Zhejiang was the next largest honey producer at 79,951 MTs or 18% of total output.
  • In 2010, China produced 398,000 MTs of honey, or roughly 26% of the global share by volume.
  • From 2002 to 2004, the EU banned Chinese honey imports due to products tainted with antibiotics (e.g. chloramphenicol, streptomycin, and tetracycline). During the early 2000s, the EU ban (along with an anti-dumping duty by the USA) helped spur smuggling of adulterated Chinese honey via third-party countries such as India.
  • In late 2011, the USA imposed an anti-dumping duty of 221% on Chinese honey exports.
  • From 1997 to 1998, China’s honey industry suffered from a bacterial epidemic (i.e. “foulbrood”). In order to combat the epidemic, China applied antibiotics such as chloramphenicol that later tainted retail Chinese honey products.
  • Mānuka honey is produced in New Zealand from bees that use nectar from the mānuka tree (Leptospermum scoparium). The honey is sometimes used to treat infections and other medical ailments.

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