Saturday, October 12, 2013

Processed by bees, not by machines

Ah, yes, everyone loves a good slogan (or trademark). OK, not everyone, some people loathe them: may those people never notice it as they inspect a jar of SemiArid Honey prior to purchase. My goal is to distinguish my product from the honey sold at Costco and Walmart, and I hope the slogan assists in that endeavor.

There is not necessarily anything  wrong with Costco honey. Their honey is not ultra-filtered. Costco in Canada and the USA is doing an admirable job of ensuring that the honey they source originates in the country of sale, and adheres to  a reasonable standard of quality.  Costco should be commended for taking a leadership role in that regard. In addition, Costco is a prominent buyer of honey from Canada's apiarist co-op Beemaid.

The reality though, is that honey from large retailers is still finely filtered, flash heated and pasteurized; destroying enzymes, removing all traces of pollen, and detrimentally altering flavour compounds. As such, and in general, consumers have become conditioned to a product that won't crystallize for centuries, and more closely resembles apple juice than strained honey. I don't want to appear to be kicking (diatomaceous) dirt at large retailers, though.

Speaking as a hobbyist beekeeper, our customers appreciate the difference in taste and quality that is possible with a less-processed product. They desire a superior honey, and large retailers are not in competition for that market - nor we for theirs. Hobbyist honey sells itself, especially after people have had an opportunity to sample a taste of it. But there is nothing wrong with highlighting the differences!

The slogan morphed along the way. It was originally penned it as "Processed by bees - not machines" or varied as  "Processed by bees - not by machines". Unsure of the grammatical construct, I posted a question to Quora. Member Matthew Lancey stepped in and gave a few suggestions; a comma was substituted for the hyphen, and the slogan became more balanced than I will ever hope to be. My gratitude goes out to him for his assistance.


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