6. Storing and Selling Honey

As your hive begins to grow and expand you may find yourself with a surplus supply of honey. Many beekeepers choose to sell this surplus honey and make a modest additional income to bolster their regular wage. Given that you do not need a license to package and sell honey, it is an extremely promising venture for both small scale and large scale beekeepers. If you intend to bottle, package and sell your honey for commercial use then there are several factors which you will need to consider. For instance, you will need to include certain information on the labels for your jars which certifies that your honey is legitimate and safe to consume. The information which you will need to state on your honey jar labels includes:

Under EU law, certain information must be included on every jar of honey that you sell.

1. Best Before Date: All food products must contain a 'best before date' which indicates when they will expire. Honey lasts approximately two years from the point of bottling so you will need to mark the date, month and year when it is expected to expire.

2. The country of origin: If you have produced your honey within the UK then your honey labels should bear the words 'Product of the UK' and include the producer's address. You should check the regulations of your local area to ensure your honey fulfils the necessary regional requirements. Otherwise, your honey must bear the words 'Product of more than one Country'.

3. The lot number: Your lot number identifies that you have produced each jar of honey and that each jar can be traced back to your colony and the date of processing. You should also include the producer's name and address on your honey jar labels.

4. The weight of honey in the jar: Your label must display the weight of honey in the jar. The weight contained in the jar must be equal or greater than the weight displayed on the label.

5. How you brand your honey: There are specific reserved descriptions for different types of honey. For instance; blossom or nectar honey (which has been obtained from the nectar of plants), honeydew honey (which has been obtained from the excretions of insects or plants), comb honey (which has been stored in the cells of freshly built brood-less combs), chunk or cut comb in honey (which contains pieces of comb honey), drained honey (which has been sourced by draining de-capped brood-less combs), extracted honey (which has been sourced by centrifuging de-capped brood-less combs), pressed honey (which has been sourced by pressing brood-less combs with or without the addition of heat), filtered honey (which has been sourced by removing foreign inorganic or organic matters in order to extract pollen) and baker's honey (which is suitable for use as an ingredient or in other processed foodstuffs, which has foreign tastes or odours, which has been overheated or which has begun to ferment). It is important to correctly categorise your honey if you intend to sell it commercially. If you are unsure of your honey's type, then you can contact your local Beekeeping Association or Food Hygiene Administration for more information.

6. Create an attractive label for your honey: As well as the national Food Hygiene regulations which you will need to consider, your honey jar labels should also promote your honey to potential customers. As a result, you should consider how you wish to brand your honey. If you can invent a unique and eye-catching logo or slogan which will pique customer interest, then you can begin to successfully sell your honey. If you intend to sell your honey on a larger scale, then it is worthwhile investigating patents and trademarks in order to register your particular brand of honey and its logo. Alternatively, you can acquire standard packaging labels from your local beekeeping supplier.

Once you have bottled and labelled your honey then you can begin to sell them. If you intend to turn your beekeeping hobby into a commercial business venture, then there are several avenues which you should investigate in order to solidify a strong customer base. One of the most lucrative resources from which you can benefit is your local community. Health food stores and local farmers markets are always looking for a source of fresh, local honey. If you visit these stores and markets as well as other local gift stores, gardening centres and fairs then you can find a sustainable outlet through which to sell your honey. You can even contact your local Beekeeping Association for advice. By conversing with local beekeepers you can gain excusive insights on how to successfully bottle, package and sell honey in your local area.

As well as selling your honey locally you can also capitalise upon the enormous resource that is the Internet. By creating a simple website you can sell your honey internationally to a substantially larger audience. You can even create business cards which include your website address on them. By handing out these cards in your local area you can encourage people to purchase your honey and recommend it to others. Alternatively, if you do not have a personal website then you can create an account on auction sites such as eBay through which you can sell your honey. However, if you intend to sell your honey via the Internet, then you will need to carefully package your honey so that it does not break during transit.