Leads open up new opportunities for Manuka Honey business 1770 in Asia Pacific
For the last six years Brisbane-based business, 1770, has been busy building a legion of loyal customers in Australia. Now the company, which offers a boutique range of high-quality Manuka honey products including Australian Manuka honey sticks, Australian Manuka honey and multifloral honeycomb, is fast growing overseas.
“We already have a customer base in South Korea that is growing and next year we are expanding into Hong Kong and other areas of Asia Pacific,” says founder Summer Jun. “Distributors will be placing our products into high end department and gourmet food stores which is really exciting.”
Exciting new opportunities
Summer says it was the first year of 1770 attending Naturally Good which yielded great new opportunities. “We’re now in position to grow and service a larger market, so we attended to introduce our brand to local and international businesses and to launch our new ‘natural honey’ product line.
“There was a lot of interest in our booth and we received a lot of good feedback on our branding. We’re currently an online retailer and wholesaler but are also looking for distributors to work with. We picked up quite a few leads which has opened up some opportunities in Asia Pacific.
“In the international market Manuka honey is very well known and highly sought after for its therapeutic properties. In Australia, we find there is somewhat less understanding about what makes it so special so our success in part has been down to creating a lot of content and telling our producers stories to increase awareness and understanding.”
Summer adds that Manuka honey is quite competitive as it only grows in specific regions, at certain times of year and only some beekeepers harvest it. The supply is limited and specialised. “There are also a few large retailers that kind of have a monopoly over the market. However, they mostly compete on price only.
“We differentiated our product by giving it the level of branding, packaging and marketing that such a unique product deserves. For example, we were the first to market in South Korea with our boutique stick style packaging and saw quick uptake of the product and a steady demand over the last five years.”
Of passionate origins
The company began its journey back in 2016 when Summer noticed it was impossible to find a Manuka honey that she could trust which was pure, ethically sourced and presented in a way that did justice to the value of the product.
“I have always been passionate about good food and the role of high-quality, natural products. So many international travellers go home with Australian supplements and health foods and I knew we could offer a better product.
“So, we decided we needed to source honey that was as raw and unprocessed as possible, from beekeepers we personally knew. We sought out people using sustainable and ethical practices witih a focus on elegance and innovation. Basically, we thought we could make a better and more beautiful product than was already on shelves, and market it differently too.”
A best-selling product is born
Out of the product range, Summer says it’s their 500+ Manuka Honey Sticks which has been a stand-out performer. “Our customers love how beautiful the product is and how convenient the sticks make it to get their daily dose of Manuka. The packaging is also so different to the predictable plastic jars seen everywhere and use 70 per cent less plastic than standard jars.
“It does really well because it is more potent than lower MGO grades, is highly antibacterial and great for immune system support, digestion, wound healing, and skin care, and is natural substitute for refined sugar.”
A proudly Aussie business
Summer says 1770 works very closely with a select few producers in the South East QLD and Northern NSW regions who are very talented at what they do. “The amount of time, effort and care they put into their bees and their honey is something we admire. We really appreciate that we can trust they are producing the best honey – and make sure we test every batch. One of our suppliers is Gabrielle Morley in Bangalow where the honey comes from just 30 hives and is very site specific so you can really taste the ‘terroir’ – the environmental influences.
However, one thing to contend with is that as a natural product, supply tends to be at the mercy of nature. Each year the yield depends on how the season goes for the beekeepers. “This is where having a close relationship with your beekeepers comes in handy – they will look after you and put the best of the harvest aside for you,” says Summer.
“Australians are also spoiled when it comes to fresh produce. We are so used to honey being very available and much more affordable than in other countries so the rarity and price of Manuka can be a barrier if the consumer isn’t aware of what makes it so special. And it is truly special.”
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