Good things take time, and in Australia even more so. After two years of sustained effort, Jarrah Health – Honey has been officially released in China, available since June 2018! Please note, Jarrah Health – Honey is a brand of AUSTRALIA JARRAH HEALTH PTY LTD. Now with the EU free trade agreement being negotiated it is up to Australian Honey producers to match the highest standards. Australia has a lot to offer the EU consumer with outstanding quality products, but it takes effort to get it right. Like Mathias Cormann being proposed by Australia to lead the OECD, Australian farmers need to think beyond China and 2020.
Previously the recognised premium honey in the Chinese market has been Manuka honey, produced in Australia and New Zealand. However New Zealand has been more savvy in marketing premium foods to China, and even tried to monopolise Manuka Honey for itself only. Australia and its Institutions and Governments can be a little apathetic at times, having been the Lucky Country, where milk and honey flow, for so long, Australia never really had to compete for economic advantage. Luckily Australia has active and aware politicians like Senator for Tasmania, Richard Colbeck that quickly got involved to protect Tasmania’s, Australia’s interest in the matter. Not an easy matter if you consider that Australia and New Zealand share food standards but not safety or production standards, see foodstandards.gov.au!
Australia’s overly relaxed and at times outdated attitude is rapidly changing as so-called friends are literally eating your and my, Australia’s lunch and dinner when it comes to marketing in China.
The missteps of the Australian dairy industry and companies in the baby formula market are examples. However, there are success stories as well based on novel technologies and well communicated insights such as A2 milk. Leadership can be short lived as especially New Zealand is always ready it seems to match or exceed Australia’s efforts.
Manuka Honey has been cleverly marketed in China, especially by New Zealand providers as a functional honey from New Zealand, assisting in healing wounds with its antibacterial properties and active ingredient Methylglyoxal, believed to be beneficial to your health.
This New Zealand success has left most Australian honey, and other products in the shade as Australia has not had a consistent marketing and certification system in place to promote its products; even superior products like Jarrah Honey from Western Australia have struggled to get their deserved attention. Australia is trying to catch up with its own top down national brand campaign, however it is late and yet to be tested in the market.
The Australian Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation in concert with Jarrah Health has identified in an in-depth study a series of value-added properties in Jarrah Health – Honey.
The highlights of Jarrah Health are probiotic, low GI and antibacterial honey products. The science is based on test results from the University of Western Australia, the University of Sydney and the Glycaemic Index Foundation.
The lead customer in China for Jarrah Health – Honey is BENXI DEGUSE HEALTH INDUSTRY CO LTD, arguably the leading provider of honey products in the rapidly growing Chinese market for diabetic products.
It is important to remember, as Alan Sun (CEO of Australia Jarrah Health) put it, that Government should help to promote Australian standards to compete with other well- known standards. Alan has found it hard to promote a new standard like Australian Jarrah Honey without Government support to compete with an established New Zealand Manuka Honey standard in a sensitive Chinese market. Perception is important! Only after many years of work has the Australian Jarrah Honey standard finally been accepted. Alan believes, with Government support, clear standards will open new high-end markets in China for the Australian honey industry.
Given these developments it is imperative that Australia develops consistent branding and certification on an international level for its unique products like Jarrah Health – Honey, not unlike France does for its Champagnes!