Exporting food: Go global with Australian honey

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Australian honey remains a popular product in Singapore and Malaysia as growing incomes drive up demand for luxury food. Take advantage of this market trend by learning how to export honey and gain some insights about prestige food exports.

Australia has made itself known as one of the foremost producers of quality honey in the world. According to AgriFutures Australia, commercial beekeepers alone generated 28,529 tonnes of honey in 2019, with the official estimate of the honey bee and pollination industry, including those for recreation, amounting to AU$147 million. The farmgate price per kilogram, recorded in 2019, was AU$6.50, an increase from over the years due to shortages driven by drought, scorching weather, and bush fire.

Raw honey and manuka honey are amongst the more popular bee products that Australia exports. In particular, the demand for Australian honey and bee products in Singapore and Malaysia has increased in recent years. According to one of Australian Trade and Investment Commission’s case studies on Australian Honey Products (AHP), a family-owned business, it had exported AU$140,000 worth of Leatherwood and Manuka honey to Malaysia and Singapore in 2016 alone, and that number is climbing. Pure Australian honey is set up to become a major agricultural export in the next few years. 

Savvy business folk who want to take advantage of this new demand should have a good understanding of Australian custom’s export processes and any obstacles that may emerge throughout the logistics journey. Here, DHL Express unpacks what you need to know about exporting honey from Australia. 

1. Export classification

When it comes to Australian food exports, there are a few categories that honey could fall into. The category will decide what restrictions apply to the food export and what taxes/export fees need to be paid on it. 

Fortunately for exporters, honey is classified as a 'non-prescribed good' under Australian export control legislation. This means the country does not place any restriction on its export.

However, some countries require a certification from the Australian government to determine the authenticity of the product. As Australian honey is synonymous with quality, and honey is often subject to dilution, this ensures the food export is of a quality standard. A certification can be obtained from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. 

When shipping your Australian honey, check whether your destination country is subject to these requirements. This way, you won’t be surprised by any unexpected delays or hiccups when your product arrives at customs.

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2. Logistical concerns 

Honey is not as volatile as other food exports like meat and dairy which are prone to spoilage under sub-optimal temperature. One factor that makes Australian honey ideal for export is the fact that it doesn’t spoil due to the high sugar content. But that doesn’t mean that exporting honey is without challenges. 

Honey is viscous and sticky, and will change consistency from thick to runny when exposed to heat. If your last mile delivery is in a humid country with vehicles that aren’t insulated, this could become messy and lead to product being lost. Additionally, the taste and medicinal properties of honey can be compromised if exposed to heat. 

One way to account for this is through effective packaging. Sealed containers are ideal as they also protect the integrity of the product and prevent it from being tampered with on the journey. 

Another effective measure to ensure the honey does not liquify is temperature-controlled delivery. DHL Express offers temperature-controlled delivery services for clients to ensure their product arrives in the optimal manner. Consider using ambient temperature-control delivery options when exporting Australian honey through DHL Express. 

3. The dark history of honey

A few years ago, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that a high percentage of Australian honey was adulterated or impure. Many samples included dyed glucose syrup or a blend of honey and glucose. Since then, the Australian honey industry has made a significant recovery and reclaimed the prestigious reputation it once had. Pure Australian honey is synonymous with quality and prestige with many boutique retailers boasting rare blends and infusions. 

Despite the recovered reputation, there are still concerns around international food safety and tampering. All Australian food exports will need to comply with international safety and hygiene standards of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) of the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. These food standards were established by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation and the WHO. It follows a mandate to protect consumer health, facilitate fair international food trade, and develop standards based on sound scientific principles. 

If you want to join some of the largest food exporters and trade in Australian honey, then adhering to the Codex is essential. You can familiarise yourself with the Codex and food safety standards on the official Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) website. 

Ship Australian honey with ease when you choose DHL Express

Whether you need help in preparing your shipment or want to gain access to customs clearance processes, taxes and more, you can rely on DHL Express to help you. Plus, with our intuitive MyDHL+ platform, you can rest assured that you have all the tools necessary to make shipping a breeze and a customer shopping experience one to remember. Start by signing up for a business account today.