Bottling & Marketing Your Honey
You did it! Your bees have fulfilled their end of the bargain – YOU HAVE HONEY! Now what? I’ll apologize in advance here…The first steps to mention on this topic are bottling requirements and regulations. But a good thing for you - I’m not going to talk about either one! BUT, I do encourage you to read and discern where you fall into the equation and meet those requirements. Here are some links that may be helpful:
To me, one of the most enjoyable parts of beekeeping is the presentation of our honey! Over the years I’ve seen some very creative containers and labeling. How far you take it is truly only limited to your imagination and budget! One point often overlooked in the equation is “market identification.” Knowing “who” you are marketing to is the most important factor in making decisions on containers and labels– so keep that in mind.
Containers/Bottles– For beekeepers selling in small volumes to friends and family, let cost and functionality be your guide. As I mentioned, knowing your market is key. Selling honey at a Farmers Market in a pretty Muth jar might not be money well spent. You would more likely hit your target buyer with a Mason jar or typical squeeze honey bottle. You see where I’m going with this? Like my husband, James, used to tell me about his “fly fishing days,” when choosing the proper bait you must “match the hatch!” In other words, put out the bait for what is swimming! Makes sense right? When purchasing your containers, take into consideration how many you can logically use. Quantity pricing is good for most products and bottles very much fall in line. But keep in mind, they never ship free. This is best as an “in store” purchase from just about any supplier. Helpful Tip: Only bottle what can be sold quickly. Honey crystallizes at different rates and it is much easier to liquefy it prior to it being bottled than after.
Basic Labeling– Most honey producers (BIG or small) utilize “peel and stick” labels for their containers. Shopping for labels can be rather daunting. From our experience I can tell you “quantity” definitely saves you money. Having said that, I wouldn’t buy more than I could use in a year or so simply because your size containers or label design may change, leaving you with some left unused. Here’s a good place to start:
Avery– Print your own sheet or design online and they will print them for you (including ink, $.55 cents each to print your own - $.50 each if they print them for you if you buy 250+).
Vista Print– Roll ( approx. $.68 each for 250), sheet pricing ($.72 each for 200) or single sticker ($.76 each for 200).
UPrinting– Cut-to-size, another term for “single sticker” ($.19 each for 250) or roll ($.77 each for 250). It’s important to restate: quantity really matters. We paid $.07 each for 2000 stickers from UPrinting. Yes, that’s a lot of stickers, but we sell a fair amount of honey.
Attributes to consider when ordering: Washable (Glossy doesn't always mean washable) · Sized to fit more than one size container · Removable (for those of us who need “do overs” in applying)
Building a GREAT label – Attributes for a great label:
Unique to you and/or your farm
Promote unique forage flavors (e.g., clover, mesquite…)
Develop your own logo (Product branding)
Use a catch phrase (e.g., Best honey in town…)
Use terms that garner attention (e.g., Local, Raw…)
Phone Number (not required but very important so customers can call to reorder!)
Keep it simple! It will come as no surprise that there are requirements for labeling our products. CLICK HERE for more information.
Marketing your honey– When it comes to marketing your product, nothing matters more than focusing on your target buyer.
Small Scale Producers – A lot of us fall into this category. Here are some tips that can help get your honey sold:
Always keep honey with you!
Use free social media to advertise (Facebook, Twitter). Set up a Facebook and/or Twitter page with your “honey name” (e.g., Chari’s Honey Company). Keep it current and post often!
Make it known to your friends and family you have honey for sale ; after all, they are your best customers and best advertisers!
Let family members sell it for you too! Let’s face it, we give a lot of honey away to our family; why not get them to sell some in return for the favor?
Sign up to be listed on the Texas Beekeepers Association’s Honey Locator as well as the Real Texas Honey program.
Both of these programs are well respected and garner attention. The Real Texas Honey program also comes with a very nice silver medallion sticker to affix on your bottles + brochures.
Sell at Farmer's Markets and town festivals. Keep in mind most will only allow 1 honey producer per market.
Make your honey customers feel special. We order FREE (+shipping) brochures from Honey.com and give them to each new customer. They will love it and will tell a friend – The VERY best kind of FREE advertising is word of mouth!
Medium to Large Scale Producers who hold a Food Manufacturers license Local Feed Stores, Boutiques, as well as Mom and Pop stores typically love to promote home town businesses. Having your product on their store shelves can be a huge boost to your sales and open up doors for more opportunities for shelf space. The larger producers have a bit more work to do in order to sell larger quantities.
Consider approaching a distributor and/or retailer such as grocery store chains and large box stores. Shelf space isn’t easy to obtain so do your research.
Be market space competitive. Mastering retail markets is a skill obtained with time but well worth it if done well!
Online Sales are thriving these days. But choosing which e-commerce platform on which to sell can be daunting. Most have fees associated with product sales that vary from cents to big dollars so you will be well served to do your research.
Top 5 sites are: ·
- Facebook Marketplace
When thousands of gallons of honey become a reality, you may consider selling bulk to various food manufacturers for use in their products and maybe, just maybe, even opening your own store!
Remember, volume production needs to move – It’s not your goal to still have honey from this year come next honey harvest season! As you can see, the size of your honey production truly depicts the actions you’ll take - from container choice, label design and quantity, to where you will sell your product.
Pricing your honey - There’s no real way to “honey coat” this… Price your honey to sell AND what your market will bear. Ask around, shop around…YOU have a special product so price it accordingly without pricing yourself out of a sale. If I leave you with anything from this article I hope it’s this - choose your “happy place” in this industry. Biting off more than you can chew (or sell) can be costly. Focus on your target buyer; cater to them and always produce a product you would buy! And most importantly – Have fun!
For more information on labeling requirements CLICK HERE
For more information on licensing requirements CLICK HERE