The firm develops medicinal honey with anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties said to promote wound healing and can kill infectious pathogens including fungi.
Its first honey brand called BeeWell was launched in 2020 in China. It is sold on Tmall in China, HKTVMall in Hong Kong, and not sold in Australia.
“We sold approximately between 10 to 15,000 jars of BeeWell honey in the China market, but due to the trade wars between Australia and China, it’s becoming quite difficult to push,” said MD Jay Curtin.
Middle East expansion
The firm is now pivoting its attention to the Middle East market. Real Good Honey is the same honey as BeeWell, but just branded, packaged, and marketed differently.
In Kuwait, the honey will be available at pharmacy chain IMCO International Medical Supply, and in UAE, at Al Khayyat - Alphamed Pharma.
The company plans to launch in Saudi Arabia later this year, and Qatar with early discussions ongoing.
Marketed as a premium, sustainably sourced honey, the intention is to target the consumer looking for luxury and status in the Middle East, as an alternative to New Zealand Mānuka honey.
“The number one thing that drives Middle East consumers’ purchase decision is luxury and status. These people are aware of Mānuka honey and its health properties, whereas Australia has not marketed its medicinal honey as much,” Curtin told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“The challenge for us going into the Middle East markets is to convince consumers that our honey is just as strong, if not stronger than Mānuka.
“In New Zealand, there is only one medicinal flower, and that is the manuka flower. Whereas in Australia, we have potentially 100 different flowers that are medicinal.”
Its products come in three flavours and the range is sourced from eucalyptus trees, including Western Australian Jarrah, Blackbutt and Redgum.
“Many companies typically just mix everything together and brand it as Western Australian honey, but we’re making sure that we keep our different flower varieties separately, similarly to how red wine is categorised with different grape varieties,” Curtin said.
Australian Honey Ventures is also positioning Real Good Honey with a sustainable angle, using recycled plastic as jars for packaging, as well as printing direct on the jars.
The company will also launch Real Good Honey in Australia next year, where it is in talks with a major supermarket chain.
Honey is a product very susceptible to adulteration. For Australian Honey Ventures, it tests honey through independent or third party testing laboratories in Australia. “We've recently spent AU$11,000 (US$8,000) testing 25 tonnes of honey,” Curtin added.
Mostly recently, the company is opening a second capital raise, just eight months after the first crowdfunding round which raised AU$790,000 (US$570,000) from more than 500 investors.
This time, it is hoping to raise AU$1 to 3 million (US$720,000 to 2 million), to bring the total investors to 1,500. The funds will be used to expand its processing facility and marketing, as it sets out ambitious growth plans.