Edinburgh-based Scottish Bee Company hope to crack Far East market with growth in demand for ‘superfood’ honey in Japan and Singapore

They’re hoping to follow in the footsteps of Scotland’s national drink by cracking the Far East market...

Friday, 30th October 2020, 2:58 pm

But the Edinburgh-based Scottish Bee Company will be selling their very own amber nectar in countries like Japan and Singapore, where there is growing demand for premium products made in Scotland.

More than eight tonnes of The Scottish Bee Company’s heather and blossom honey, worth around £100,000, will be exported to the Far East in the next year alone - destined for high-end health and speciality food retailers.

Produced in beehives in the Lothians, Dumfriesshire, Stirlingshire, Fife and Aberdeenshire, their heather honey was revealed as a world-leading superfood in a scientific study earlier this year. It contains up to 10 times more of the essential micronutrient, manganese, compared to 200 of its global rivals, including manuka.

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A beekeeper at work with her hives
A beekeeper at work with her hives

Their honey is among the world’s top manganese containing food products. The mineral helps make and activate enzymes in the body involved in protecting tissues from damage and metabolism of nutrients and also helps maintain healthy bones.

Suzie Millar, co-founder of The Scottish Bee Company, said: “We’re really excited to be following in the footsteps of Scotch whisky by bringing our own unique taste of Scotland to the Far East.

“Foodies in Japan and Singapore demand premium quality honey like ours, so it’s a buoyant market. They test everything and want to know that they are getting a great tasting product with clear health benefits. It’s good to know that even during a global pandemic that we’re doing our bit to help drive Scotland's position as a global leader for healthy and functional food.

“The provenance and heritage of Scottish honey is also akin to the Scotch whisky market, adding to its appeal in the Far East.”

Last year, the export value of global Scotch Whisky exports grew by 4.4 percent to £4.91billion, driven in particular by sales in Asia and Africa.

Suzie said they are also planning to do more work to develop export activity in the USA and Europe.

With support from the Scottish Business Network and The Honey Colony in Singapore, it has taken a year of planning and negotiations for The Scottish Bee Company to finally access the Far East market with its premium ‘superfood’ product.

Russell Dalgleish, chair of the Scottish Business Network, said: "Following on from the news of the UK completing a trade deal with Japan, it’s excellent to see this dynamic Scottish company entering the market.

“Having worked in Japan earlier in my career, I’m aware of the high value placed on Scottish products and from recent research we commissioned it’s clear there is a growing appetite for Scottish produce. "

The Scottish Bee Company was founded by Iain and Suzie Millar in 2017 out of a love for the environment and the honey bee.

The couple were also surprised to find that a large amount of honey consumed in the UK is imported from around the world.

In two years they have increased bee numbers by around 23 million, started Scotland’s first bee farming apprenticeship, launched their sister charity Repollinate which aims to increase pollination through education programmes and wildflower spaces, committed to donating 10p from every unit sold to Repollinate, tripled sales year on year and won a Great Taste Award for their Heather honey.

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