You may have heard the bad publicity around store-bought honey and assumed that all of the honey that you buy from the big supermarkets is rubbish.
Some honey sellers actually promote their honey by stating that supermarket honey is mixed with sugar syrup and that you should avoid it if you want real honey.
Is that really the case?
This article will answer that question and cover what to look for when buying supermarket honey and what options there may actually be for the discerning customer.
We have no financial interest in refuting the idea that you can’t get real honey from the supermarkets – in fact, it would actually help us.
That said, we feel strongly about transparency within the industry and would like to educate consumers so that they make informed decisions about honey, no matter who they decide to buy from.
Okay, so to answer the titled questioned…
No, not all supermarket honey is rubbish!
In fact, while there have been reports of some honey distributors supplying honey that has been tampered with, this is not an industry-accepted practice.
Yes, there have been instances where honey has been found to stray from its pure form, however for the most part, Australian distributors do provide genuine honey.
Okay, so I just buy whatever honey is cheapest then?
That is entirely up to the consumer.
Let it be known though that you get what you pay for. A lot of the mass-produced supermarket honey is not what can be considered ‘raw honey’.
Raw honey is honey that has not undergone the pasteurisation and other refining processes that render it less beneficial.
Essentially, because the big honey packers are buying and packaging large amounts of honey from multiple sources, it aids in their production to heat honey and to filter it as finely as possible.
While this honey may be very clear in appearance and look great on the supermarket shelves, it has lost a lot of what makes honey great.
This honey will be cheaper to buy purely due to the scale of the economy of these large businesses.
So while the consumer feels they are saving money in buying this honey, they are in effect buying a package that has less of the goodness they may be after.
More bang for your buck
If the customer is just chasing a bit of sweetness and flavour on their toast, then this may be fine.
It looks like honey, pours like honey, and (mostly) tastes like honey. That may be acceptable for a lot of people, and at the end of the day, they are essentially getting what they pay for.
However, for those who have experienced real raw honey, honey in its purest form, this cheap honey just isn’t the same.
The flavours will have been diminished and most of the health benefits will have been taken away.
When broken down into a ‘cost per spoonful’ comparison, the real raw honey is considerably more flavoursome and beneficial and for a very small price difference.
While everyone’s individual budgets will vary, considering the portion sizes of honey most people consume, this really is a small price to pay for a much more enjoyable and wholesome product.
So is there raw honey at the supermarket?
You may have noticed some brands of honey on the shelves that are a little more pricey.
If you look closely you may find that many of these are in fact advertised as ‘raw honey’.
Yes, that’s right, even in supermarkets, you can find raw honey.
There are some honey producers in Western Australia who supply big retailers with raw honey and this can be purchased for a reasonable price.
Is that as good as it gets?
Well, for convenience and the fact that you are getting ‘real honey’, then you are getting a pretty good deal.
What you must be sure to look for though is that the honey was produced and packaged in Western Australia.
Any honey that is imported from the Eastern States or from overseas will have had to be irradiated prior to being made available in Western Australia.
This means is that the honey has been sterilised in order to prevent the spread of honey-borne pests that could impact the beekeeping industry here.
Unfortunately for the customer, it also means that the honey has been robbed of the beneficial-bacteria and microbes that also live within the honey.
Any other considerations?
Buying from the larger retailers will afford customers with more certainty that the honey they are buying is of a safe standard.
Customers can be confident that larger beekeeping operations will have spent thousands of dollars on appropriate and professional beekeeping equipment.
Using the right tools for the trade ensures that honey gets processed hygienically, not just with a “she’ll be right” approach that some beekeepers may have.
Many honey sellers won’t even own a honey refractometer to test the moisture content of their honey. This is concerning, as raw honey can ferment if harvested wrong and not checked for moisture content.
It is a given that the bigger crews will have mastered beekeeping practices and deliver a safe product time after time.
The big guys are under tighter scrutiny and will be a safer bet when it comes to food safety.
At the end of the day, we know that many people will make their purchasing decisions based on price alone. That is perfectly fine, and we expect they will continue to buy whatever they feel makes their dollar goes further.
What we have hoped to achieve from this article is to highlight the fact that not all supermarket is ‘rubbish’, and that for a decent price, you can, in fact, get some genuinely good raw honey on supermarket shelves in Western Australia.