Selling your honey and promoting its health benefits
One reason people become involved with beekeeping is so that they can market the honey. Many beekeepers chose to sell their honey to a local market.
Beekeepers who choose a local market for their honey typically sell their product to friends, family members, and neighbors. They typically set up a market stand to display their product, selling the honey produced in their hives along side berries, apples, and vegetables that they have grown in their gardens.
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Some small honey producers will gain enough local credit to sell their honey at local grocery stores. Beekeepers that sell their products locally typically only a few active bee hives.
The key to a successful local marketing technique is to provide the customers with a quality product and good customer relation skills. Beekeepers that market their honey typically enjoy face to face contact with their customers. Often the sale of the honey has as much to do with friendship as it does with the product.
Beekeepers that sell their honey locally should take an active interest in their product. They should make sure that their display is kept clean. They should spend a significant amount of time designing the package.
Successful beekeepers pass out literature that gives customers insight to the art of beekeeping seems to increase sales.
Handing out cards that have recipes that use honey gives customers an idea about how they can use the honey they are purchasing. Many beekeepers encourage handing out free samples and promote spending time getting to know potential customers.
If you are a beekeeper that is planning on marketing your honey at a roadside stand you should make sure that they have a sign that can be easily read.
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Many beekeepers claim that setting up a hive near their roadside stand helps attract customer interest. by drivers. In large letters the sign should read Honey for Sale. The sign should be eye catching, but simple. If the sign is to complex, drivers won’t be able to read it. Try to keep shade over your road side stand, a comfortable customer is one who is more likely to take their time and spend some their money purchasing your product.
Keep an eye on the honey you are selling. If you notice that one of the bottles on honey is stating to crystallize immediately replace it with a fresh bottle.
Where ever you can, collect the email address from your customers and prospective customers. Let them know about your honey, and why it is special. Send out seasonal information about your hives and recipes for all seasons. Consider creating a simple Facebook Page to let people know where your next market or roadside stand will be and even consider online orders.
Choose an Appealing Jar, Bottle or Container
The first thing beekeepers have to decide is what kind of container they want to use to hold their honey. The standard size of containers used to sell honey are measured in pounds. The typical amount of honey offered to the customers can be as small an amount as a half pound or as large as five pounds of honey.
Bottles that are filled with honey should be made of clear plastic and glass. The bottle should be attractive, something that will catch a customer’s eye. If, you are attracted to novelty containers you can choose from a variety of fun containers such as skeps, bears, and plastic squeeze bottles.
Once you have settled on the perfect bottle for your honey you have to design an equally perfect label. Before you start designing a label for your honey check with your state government, most states have several laws and requirements about how labels appear on products.
Glued on the bottle should be a label. The label be clear an easy to read. Clearly printed on the label should be the type of product, honey, and the name of the beekeeper who produced the honey. The bottle of honey should be something that the customer will want to display on the their kitchen counter or table.
Make sure that the word honey is written in bold letters across the label. The word should stand out and really catch the casual shopper’s eye.
Most graphic designers recommend that the honey should run parallel with the container’s base. Do not authorize a label if the design does not incorporate your name (or your farm’s name) and your address. If you use a packing or distribution company their name and address must also be included on the label. The final thing that needs to be clearly printed on the label is the net weight of the honey. If the honey you are marketing weighs between one to four pounds then the weight has to be written in both pounds and ounces. The print size used to show the net weight is not random, the font size is determined by the size and shape of the container.
If you are a beekeeper who harvests your honey more then once a season you might be able to write what flavor of honey you are selling. You might have honey that is flavored with clover, alfalfa, or apple blossoms.
Labels that have words such as unfiltered, natural, raw, and areanic refer to honey that has not been processed.
Beekeepers who have USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) grades printed on the label have passed a set of USDA grade standards. Honey that has a USDA grade of A has passed the exacting government standards. Honey that has a USDA grade of D has passed only a bare minimum of standards. The USDA grades honey based on the amount of moisture in the honey, clarity, flavor quality, and defects.
When you are pricing your honey make sure you consider the demands on your time and the cost of all the products you are using to turn your honey into a marketable commodity.
Visit the supermarket and community markets and see what the other sellers have priced their honey for.
When you visit community markets, take note and see where you can present or promote in a more attractive way. Consider developing some recipe cards, create a discount pricing strategy for larger containers or buy two and get a third free and offer a taste, offer free tea and coffee and best of all give your customers good conversation to make them want to return.
Promoting the Health Benefits of Honey
For the past 2700 years according to history honey was used in medicine to provide topical relief for rashes and skin irritation like the condition called MRSA (pronounced type of resistant bacterial staph infection).
Honey also serves a purpose in medicine and in many vitamin supplements since raw unprocessed honey carries a high level of antioxidants and enzymes and aids in digestion and other health properties.
Honey is also good for mixing it with a little lemon to treat laryngitis and was used to treat contagious conjunctivitis (pink eye).
CNN in their story on the Proven Health Benefits of Honey, describe several evidence based benefits that you can include in your leaflets and discussion with customers. You can read all about these in the well researched CNN report here.