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Coles drops imported honey brand Allowrie from their shelves

By David Claughton, Friday July 6, 2018 - 19:10 EST
ABC image
Woolworths is still stocking the Allowrie honey brand, which has up to 70 per cent imported honey from China, Argentina or Mexico. - ABC

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.

"It's not a great surprise. It's a supply and demand issue."

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.

"It was kind of a necessity to buffer supply [but] now we've had a couple more seasons … and there's a lot more Australian honey in the market."

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.

Mr Sunderland said it was very difficult to compete against imported honey products.

"Our cost of production compared to their cost of production is chalk and cheese.

"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 .

"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.


© ABC 2018

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