Dangerous Bee-sness

Do the Chinese consume honey? Which one? How do they eat it? These questions took a month to answer by our Croud Factory project. Not simply because they love what they do. Our Mabius team is long negotiating with Russian startup Aroma di Estasi – deserts created with honey, including a nut based and dried fruit versions, run by Artur Tyagichev. We are discussing brining the product to China. We start, as is always the case, with detailed market research to get an idea of demand.

Mabius team is long negotiating with Russian startup Aroma di Estasi.

The information is inspiring. Turns out, China is the largest global producer of honey, but the market share of quality honey is only 5%. For the most part, the honey is counterfeit, with additives of chemicals and sugar, which are dangerous for your health. Research showed traces of antibiotics pesticides and heavy metals present in the product.

The Chinese honey paradox is that even though most of the Chinese honey is fake, the locals regard is as medicine, rather than a desert. The honey is mixed into a drink rather than eaten.

It is believed that one glass of honey in the morning helps to keep skin healthy and moisturized and in the evening – to get a better night’s sleep. On average, you can find about 30 different cans of honey in the supermarket. The honey differs depending on the health benefits offered. For example, Loyfond Bread Bee with honey and ambrosia (280 Yuan per kg) for better skin, or Wang’s fen bao run chung gao (268 Yuan/kg) also with ambrosia for digestion.

The honey is mixed into a drink rather than eaten.

Surveys showed that the Chinese know that their honey is not safe, and try to buy imported honey – they are prepared to pay one and a half times the normal price. Local honey is the cheapest – costing 30-50 Yuan per kilo, imported costs 70-150, premium honey starts at 150 and imported starts from as much as 300 Yuan respectively.

Surveys showed that the Chinese know that their honey is not safe.

We see strong and constant growth of imported honey at 19% per year.

8x growth of honey imports in China over a 10 year period

One interesting detail – based on our focus group research in the southern provinces with more than 100 respondents, we formed a hypothesis that the Chinese regard Russian products as ecologically clean, based on the premise that the Russian population is low density, has a low concentration of industrial clusters and low levels of pollution. We will be checking further in the next round. This opens great opportunities for the launch of Russian honey into the Chinese market. We will continue to work with Aroma Di Estasi – optimizing its marketing and recipe to local perception and preferences.

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