Capilano's prebiotic honey makes US debut as company keeps keen eye on China market

By Cheryl Tay contact

- Last updated on GMT

Beeotic is available at Walmart locations across the US, in either squeeze bottles or jars. ©Getty Images
Beeotic is available at Walmart locations across the US, in either squeeze bottles or jars. ©Getty Images

Related tags: Honey, Prebiotics, China, Australia

Australian honey maker Capilano Honey recently brought its signature prebiotic-enriched product to the US market, two years after its China debut.

Called Capilano Beeotic Honey, it is touted as the world's first clinically tested prebiotic honey, sourced exclusively from Australian bees.

The non-GMO honey contains eight naturally occurring oligosaccharides that act as prebiotics, which the human body cannot digest and thus, can aid in nourishing good gut bacteria and support digestive health.

It is currently available at Walmart locations across the US in BPA-free 385ml jars or 350ml squeeze bottles.

Beeotic was first launched in Australia in 2016 after a clinical study by researchers at the University of New South Wales that posted positive results regarding the prebiotic health benefits of certain varieties of Australian honey.

Later that year, Capilano launched the product in China.

MD Dr Ben McKee said in an official release: "We test every batch of Beeotic to ensure it contains prebiotic components so people around the world can help support their digestive health by consuming real, pure honey."

Aussie alternative

The firm's main opportunities in the US market lie in providing an alternative to what is presently available to consumers, and tapping into a growing interest in gut health.

Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia​, international marketing manager Alissa Moes said: "Honey in the US is often quite processed, and the majority of consumers see honey purely as a spread, rather than a health supplement.

"The US market also has a growing awareness around the importance of gut health, so it was a logical next step for us to enter that market.  We see this as an opportunity to introduce a premium Australian honey with proven health benefits that are unique to our country and our brand."

Behind the scenes with Beeotic

Moes also revealed that McKee was a fifth-generation beekeeper with a strong scientific background, and his interest in prebiotic honey was piqued after discovering certain varieties that had higher levels of prebiotics.

After conducting the aforementioned clinical study to illustrate the potential gut health benefits of prebiotic honey, he developed Beeotic, obtaining the honey from Capilano's network of Australian beekeeping families.

Moes explained the process of producing Beeotic: "During the process of converting nectar into honey, the bees add enzymes, combined with their natural gut bacteria, that create the naturally occurring prebiotic sugars known as oligosaccharides.   

"Every batch of Beeotic is tested by an independent laboratory for specific sugar profiles in order to ensure it contains the required naturally occurring prebiotics. 

"Nothing is added to the honey, and nothing is taken away."

Existing markets first, expansion later

Beeotic is available in Australia, China and the US, while the rest of its products are exported to over 30 countries in regions such as the Middle East, Europe, the Indian sub-continent, Asia, and the Pacific Islands.

Regarding its expansion plans, however, Moes said: "At the moment, Capilano is very focused on developing and investing in our existing markets, as we see further opportunity for growth through our existing range, supported by key innovation."

She added that China was chosen as the first export market for Beeotic "as consumers in Asia are well aware of the importance of gut and digestive health, and they regularly consume honey as a health supplement"​.

China is one of Capilano's priorities in terms of exports. In November last year, the company expressed its ambition to double its honey sales to China every year for the next five years.

At the time, McKee said the Chinese market accounted for 3% (approximately $4m) of the firm's sales, but added that in order for its goal to be achieved, a campaign was in order to educate consumers on the benefits of its premium honey products.

He also said that among the 30-plus countries Capilano exported to, China offered the greatest potential, as it was the world's largest honey market.

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