The NZ Story project, funded in part through Trade and Enterprise, has made open source material available to honey producers wanting to market their product overseas.
The NZ Honey Story material includes videos, info-graphics and presentation material that can be tailored to individual marketers’ needs.
Apiculture New Zealand (ApiNZ) chief executive Karin Kos oversaw the release of similar material in the seafood industry.
She said providing the material left it up to individual companies to decide how best to use it in their marketing efforts. Some companies were already picking up material and translating to Japanese and Mandarin.
“It is a good start with some excellent resources there. But this will not fix all honey’s problems,” she said.
“The story will need to be told more broadly, but we will be able to at least see how things go with this to start.”
She believed there was a place for a broader, industry-wide effort in promoting NZ’s honey’s provenance story, like what the wine industry has achieved.
“There is a case there for also having more regional collective marketing efforts there, and people are starting to look harder at this,” she said.
This was something the wine industry has achieved, with well-promoted regionalisation from Northland to Otago.
The beekeeping industry voted against an industry commodity levy 18 months ago, with only a quarter of the 65% who voted supporting one.
Kos said funds raised from this could have been committed to an industry-wide campaign, alongside research projects.
Kos acknowledged not having funds from such a levy did hold back collective marketing efforts.
“With a stockpile of non-Manuka honey around the country, I think there is a growing awareness that collectively we could do so much more,” she said.
With Manuka’s success continuing, the industry has been moving to try and address the burgeoning supply of floral honey in storage around the country that is struggling to be sold.
One avenue includes research to better distinguish and define other specific varieties of honey, such as rewarewa and pohutukawa, with the aim of building stronger niche presence in the way Manuka honey has done.
Sarah Morgan of the NZ Story initiative said the tools provided in the honey project were valuable for marketers wanting to pitch to new distributors in new markets, with the “hero” video providing an ideal means to get them engaged.
For this reason, the material contains no specific brand or company in its visuals, and other video material is provided for companies to work into their own visual presentations.
Other industries that have similar material developed include agri-tech, horticulture and aquaculture.
She expected a high level of engagement from material that was used on Twitter and LinkedIn. Two years was the expected shelf life for the material.
Southern Alps Honey co-owner Leah Mee said the NZ Story initiative would help boost interest in other NZ honeys beyond Manuka.
“People are starting to pick up on other varieties of honey available, both here and overseas,” she said.
“NZ has such a wide variety of honey and once you explain where our honey comes from, more people are interested in them.”
She said her business intended to use some of the NZ Honey Story material on its social media platforms.