Shoppers in Coles have one less choice to make when shopping for honey as the supermarket giant has dropped the Allowrie brand of honey, which is produced from mostly imported product by Australian company Capilano Honey.
The Allowrie brand is made from up to 70 per cent imported honey from countries including China, Argentina and Mexico.
The brand is the subject of a court case after a social media campaign raised questions about the origin and quality of the Allowrie brand.
Coles said its decision was not related to any quality concerns and it dropped Allowrie products as part of its “ongoing review of the product range” to ensure it is “meeting the needs of customers”.
The chief executive of Capilano Honey, Ben McKee, said he was expecting the change.
Woolworths is still stocking the Allowrie honey brand, which has up to 70 per cent imported honey from China, Argentina or Mexico.
ABC Rural: David Claughton
Honey imported due to Aussie drought
Dr McKee said Allowrie was established at a time when the supply of Australian honey had dried up due to drought conditions.
He said the company was working to replace the Allowrie range with more of the Capilano brand which is 100 per cent Australian.
Coles has stripped back the range of honey it sells leaving Capilano and its own private label, which is also 100 per cent Australian.
Dr McKee said supermarket private labels were putting price pressures on the industry.
“We often see retail prices falling for Australian product and in time that’s reflected in raw honey prices for beekeepers.”
Capilano is about to launch a campaign to encourage people to buy its branded Australian product.
“We’re trying to grow market share with discounting and we’re about to come out with a TV campaign to educate people why they should choose branded product and the beekeepers we support.”
Local beekeepers support Coles’ new move
Coles’ decision has been welcomed by New South Wales beekeeper Kieren Sunderland, who has 500 beehives in locations across the state.
Apiarist Kieran Sunderland is struggling with drought conditions but welcomes Coles’ decision to drop imported honey from its shelves.
ABC Rural: Sally Bryant
Mr Sunderland said it was very difficult to compete against imported honey products.
“It’s not uncommon for a beekeeper in Australia to move his bees six or seven times to find honey flow … but [overseas beekeepers] can leave them in the one spot.”
Mr Sunderland said that droughts like the one currently affecting parts of Australia could also have a dramatic impact on honey production.
“It’s a disaster. We haven’t produced a drop of honey since Christmas and I’m not sure when we’re going to produce the next drop.”
Woolworths has not followed Coles’ decision to take Allowrie branded honey off its shelves.
The supermarket giant said the imported honey was a popular product in a cheaper price category that its customers wanted.