The event brought together 60 people including more than 30 company representatives from international distributor networks to align with Western Australian research and commercial supply interests in honey products.
ChemCentre Food Scientist Ken Dods has been working with a consortium of professional honey producers (representing more than 80 per cent of WA production) on work that establishes certified monofloral honey
for jarrah and marri honey. These honeys are unique honeys collected from the nectar of a single plant species.
The consortium will establish a WA certified honey analysis capacity suitable for international export certification requirements, identify unique monofloral honey composition and attributes, optimise production and supply chains for those attributes, and provide base values for the honeys that enable establishment of WA industry production standards.
“Our research is using honey compositional chemistry, underpinned by a certification process, to protect against product substitution and dilution with other lower value honeys,” Ken said.
ChemCentre continues to build industry capability and knowledge using its unique scientific and industry development capacity. “Accumulating product knowledge and innovative planning and ongoing product development will ensure the value of these unique food and therapeutic products continues to capture market attention and expand use within a customer value framework”.
International prices for Jarrah and Marri honey have already increased during the life of the project by a factor of 10, allowing WA honey producers to substantially increase their income. Sustainability in market price will be retained with the certification established because genuine products can demand a premium.
The Honey Degustation Evening, at which attendees enjoyed honey-inspired hot and cold canapes, aimed to expand the scope of the consortium from the producers into the distribution chain so that all participants can contribute to research directions and product development and maximise the value of their product.
“Feedback from our guests showed a high level of support for our ongoing work with WA honey,” Ken said.
Attendees included WA honey distributors and exporters and other new potential business partners, along with officers from the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (the main funders for the honey initiative), the Department of State Development, and research partners from The University of Western Australia, The Australian Genomic Research Foundation AGRF and specialist palynology and field operation services.