Do you want the honey or the money?

The manuka honey industry is exploding in value.

Just exactly what is going on with the crazy prices?

Stacks of beehives will become more and more common

Stacks of beehives will become more and more common

So here are the stats:

The annual value of honey exports is up by 45% to $286 mill in the 12 months to December 2015. Did you catch that? 45% increase! Little ole NZ!

And what exactly does this mean? And why is it happening?

Manuka honey is on the money, honey.

It's all from the burgeoning manuka honey industry, because of manuka honey's excellent antibacterial properties. And guess what? No one else makes manuka honey. IN THE WORLD!

NZ is the 3rd largest exporter of honey by value (China is number 1, Argentine is number 2, for those of you who are competitive). But we are only the 16th largest by volume.

Around 80% of NZ honey exports are manuka honey.

So this means manuka honey is WAY more expensive than other types of honey. Bulk markets pay about $21-28/kg. Higher value markets pay $30-50/kg. Medical grade manuka honey can fetch up to $1000/kg. And I bought a 500g jar of 10+ for $60 last weekend. $60! That's $120/kg, just to spread on my toast.

Where is our manuka honey going to?

Our biggest markets are Australia, UK, and China (all about the same size-ish).

But there is huge potential for selling to European countries such as Germany, Belgium, France, and to the USA.

From the Watch-This-Space department

The government and some industry groups have formed an Industry Primary Growth Partnership for manuka honey, and their aim is to increase the annual value of the honey industry (read: MANUKA honey industry) to $1.2 bill by 2028.

So, some maths: Now we have $286 mill. Then there will be $1.2 bill. That's an increase of $914 mill over 13 years. So, assuming the growth is even (which it won't be, as more beekeepers make more growth, one of those curvy graphs, but that's hard to calculate) then this is an increase of about $70 mill each year. Increase, on top of what the big beekeepers are already getting. Again, if it was even, say $2 mill extra each big beekeeper a year (my numbers are getting a bit hazy now, nobody quote me).

Hands up everyone who wants a bite of this pie.

Another great reason to get in to this industry

So say you don't actually want to deal with the bees; cute furry little creatures, but they do sting. Well, how about planting manuka?

All those beekeepers are going to need manuka trees to put their beehives near, right?

It is estimated that a new manuka plantation on marginal hill country can return 10-15% yearly on the cost of establishment.

The best thing about all these numbers, in my opinion, is that these increases are no flash in the pan, here today gone tomorrow. Manuka honey is so excellent at treating resistant bacteria that demand must only be going to increase worldwide. For the long term, I'm picking.

Now isn't that the best news ever?