Fooditive set to begin production trials on bee-free honey

Fooditive, a Dutch plant-based ingredients company, will begin large-scale production trials of the world’s first 100 per cent bee-free honey in the New Year.

By mass-producing a bio-identical honey that eliminates the need to intensively farm honeybees, Fooditive aims to create a scalable supply. 

Leveraging the same patented biotech process already used to create Fooditive’s vegan casein, which was launched last year, honey DNA is copied into a proprietary strain of yeast. When fed with nutrients and precision-fermented to replicate the metabolic processes that occur in the honeybee stomach, this yields a product with the same characteristics and functionality of bee-produced honey – from taste, colour and viscosity to its health benefits.

The production trials will recreate the lab-proven concept in 1,000-L fermenters, with samples to be made available for potential customers to try and test out in their own applications.

Fooditive founder and CEO Moayad Abushokhedim said, “Our goal is to provide the world’s first 100 per cent bee-free honey with no compromise on taste, quality or price. The process of genetic sequence modification used in our honey already has an established track record with our vegan casein. We believe our process will be the stepping stone for a revolutionary advancement in the food and biotechnology industries, enabling any animal product to be mimicked and even improved by bioengineering plant-based ingredients.”

The development of Fooditive’s bee-free honey has been driven by concerns that common apicultural management practices in commercial beekeeping can be detrimental to the welfare of farmed honeybees and wild bee species.

Be Sweet Honey Spread, made in Ontario

In almost every way, Be Sweet Honey Spread is just like honey. It looks like honey, tastes like honey and behaves like honey. Whether on a sandwich with peanut butter, in your soothing morning tea or in your baked goods, you can’t tell the difference between Be Sweet and honey — except that it is friendly to bee populations, won’t crystalize while stored in your cupboard and only costs a fraction of the golden liquid harvested from a hive.

“There is nothing else like this on the market,” says Mario Fleury, President of Be Sweet. “We always wondered why there was a table syrup as an affordable replacement for maple syrup, but nothing similar for honey. So my partner Eric Russell and I created it. Be Sweet gives consumers, restaurants and food processors a cost-effective alternative to honey that has all of the attributes of honey.”

Proudly produced in Mississauga, Be Sweet Honey Spread and Be Sweet Vegan Honey Substitute are currently front and centre in the Ontario Made program being featured at Loblaws stores across Ontario. Created by the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), Ontario Made is supported by the government of Ontario and aims to promote and support locally-made products in the midst of the province’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Loblaws has been a great partner that has really put Be Sweet and other Ontario businesses on showcase,” says Mr. Fleury. “Through its support of the Ontario Made program, Loblaws has put the strength of one of the province’s leading retail chains behind the launch and promotion of innovative products coming from Ontario companies.”

Be Sweet was initially created to serve large food processors and food service chains as an affordable alternative to honey. But looking to fill a gap in the market, it is now available to consumers as a cost-effective option in 500-gram and one-kilogram inverted bottles.

Be Sweet offers several benefits:

  • It’s cost-effective. While the honey spread is made in part with real Canadian honey to give it the desired background notes of honey, it is blended with sweeteners made from corn to significantly reduce the cost yet still maintain the same sweetness and flavour as honey.
  • It’s indistinguishable from honey. Be Sweet Honey Spread looks, pours and tastes just like honey. Very few people, including experts, were able to tell the two apart in blind taste tests, and the nutritional value of Be Sweet Honey Spread is very similar to honey. It not only tastes exactly like honey, but it also bakes and cooks like honey as well.
  • It has advantages over honey. Honey is susceptible to crystallization; a process triggered by the pollen and impurities found in honey, the glucose (sugar) separates from the water to form crystals. Be Sweet Honey Spread has much less pollen, and uses natural glucose derived from corn. It is formulated to not crystalize, even in extreme temperatures as low as -20°C.
  • It has a vegan option. Be Sweet Vegan Honey Substitute tastes just like honey without using any honey at all. It is formulated using a specific blend of organic cane sugar, organic rice syrup and organic molasses to give it the same sweetness, viscosity and true golden colour as honey.
  • It’s bee-friendly. It can be hard to know if the honey you are buying was harvested using ethical practices that protect bee populations. Be Sweet Honey Spread is 90 percent bee-friendly, and the honey that is used is entirely from Canadian apiaries. Be Sweet Vegan Honey Substitute contains no honey at all, meaning it is 100 percent bee friendly.

Be Sweet fine products are available at Loblaws, Your Independent Grocer, Valu-Mart, City Market and other select fine grocers across Ontario. Be Sweet Vegan Honey Substitute is also available at various health food stores across Ontario and Quebec.

‘It may finish us’: Beamsville beekeeper warns of disaster after high bee deaths


Mike Parker doesn’t sugar-coat the scale of the problem that his Beamsville beekeeping business is facing.

“It would finish us,” he said.

When he opened his hives after winter, the president and owner of Charlie-Bee Honey wasn’t expecting the scale of the bee deaths he found. But by his estimation, he’s lost around 90 per cent of his bees.

That means “millions and millions” of bees at one site alone. Out of the 8,000 hives that he manages, only 500 are viable. Roughly 7,500 of the bees were completely dead.

He fears that it could be the end of the business, one of the largest apiaries in Ontario that was set up by his father Charlie Parker in 1970.

Now, Parker and other beekeepers across Niagara are demanding action from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

From the CFIA, they want permits to bring in bees from the U.S. to replenish to create viable hives. From OMAFRA, they want tests to determine the cause of the bee deaths.

But Parker and George Scott, managing director of Niagara Beeway, say the agencies aren’t doing enough to help.

“If nothing’s done, there’s no recovery, as far as I can tell,” said Parker.

Belinda Sutton, spokesperson for OMAFRA, said that the ministry “continues work to support Ontario beekeepers through a number of programs, including a targeted beekeeper funding intake to support and strengthen the health of managed honey bees. »

She said registered beekeepers can apply for funding to support managed honey bee health and business capacity.

“For example, this includes support to purchase equipment to prevent the introduction and spread of disease, sample and analyze for pests and diseases, and purchase domestically raised queens,” she explained.

In normal years, beekeepers like Parker could replenish their stocks by sourcing queen bees from across the country. But this year, he said, the devastation is so widespread that none are available.

This is backed up by analysis done by OMAFRA and the Ontario Beekeepers Association (OBA). Sutton said that while official statistics are not yet available, “early anecdotal reports indicate a number of provinces and U.S. states are expecting higher than normal managed honey bee colony loss coming out of winter.”

Similarly, Bernie Wiehle, president of the OBA, said that they are seeing a 40 to 50 per cent loss of honeybees across the province, increasing to 70 to 90 per cent in Niagara. Usually, losses of 15 per cent could be expected across the province.

“It’s huge,” he said of the losses.


Read the rest of the article by Chris Pickles here

7 Reasons Why Buying Honey Hurts Bees

1. Bees used for honey aren’t treated very nicely.

Just like pigs, cows, chickens, and other animals who are factory-farmed, bees are often treated poorly, injured, and forced to live in cramped conditions, and they must endure the stress of being transported.


When a new queen bee is about to be born, a process called “swarming” occurs, when the old queen and half the colony leave their home. They set up in a new place that worker bees have found for them to begin a new colony. Since swarming means that less honey will be produced, many beekeepers try to prevent it—often by clipping the delicate wings of the new queen or killing and replacing the older queen …


Read the rest on

Asian Honey, Banned in Europe

A third or more of all the honey consumed in the U.S. is likely to have been smuggled in from China and may be tainted with illegal antibiotics and heavy metals.  A Food Safety News investigation has documented that millions of pounds of honey banned as unsafe in dozens of countries are being imported and sold here in record quantities.

And the flow of Chinese honey continues despite assurances from the Food and Drug Administration and other federal officials that the hundreds of millions of pounds reaching store shelves were authentic and safe following the widespread arrests and convictions of major smugglers over the last two years.

Experts interviewed by Food Safety News say some of the largest and most long-established U.S. honey packers are knowingly buying mislabeled, transshipped or possibly altered honey so they can sell it cheaper than those companies who demand safety, quality and rigorously inspected honey.

“It’s no secret that the honey smuggling is being driven by money, the desire to save a couple of pennies a pound,” said Richard Adee, who is the Washington Legislative Chairman of the American Honey Producers Association.

“These big packers are still using imported honey of uncertain safety that they know is illegal because they know their chances of getting caught are slim,” Adee said.

Food safety investigators from the European Union barred all shipments of honey from India because of the presence of lead and illegal animal antibiotics.  Further, they found an even larger amount of honey apparently had been concocted without the help of bees, made from artificial sweeteners and then extensively filtered to remove any proof of contaminants or adulteration or indications of precisely where the honey actually originated.

An examination of international and government shipping tallies, customs documents and interviews with some of North America’s top honey importers and brokers documented the rampant honey laundering and that a record amount of the Chinese honey was being purchased by major U.S. packers.

Food Safety News contacted Suebee Co-Op, the nation’s oldest and largest honey packer and seller, for a response to these allegations and to learn where it gets its honey. The co-op did not respond to repeated calls and emails for comment. Calls and emails to other major honey sellers also were unreturned.

EU Won’t Accept Honey from India

Much of this questionable honey was officially banned beginning June 2010 by the 27 countries of the European Union and others. But on this side of the ocean, the FDA checks few of the thousands of shipments arriving through 22 American ports each year.

According to FDA data, between January and June, just 24 honey shipments were stopped from entering the country. The agency declined to say how many loads are inspected and by whom.

However, during that same period, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that almost 43 million pounds of honey entered the U.S. Of that, the Department of Commerce said 37.7 million pounds came from India, the same honey that is banned in the EU because it contained animal medicine and lead and lacked the proper paperwork to prove it didn’t come from China.

Read the rest of the article by Andrew Schneider here

Canadian families will pay an extra $966 for groceries in 2022, report says

The 12th edition of Canada’s Food Price Report released Thursday predicts the average Canadian family of four will pay an extra $966 for food in 2022, for a total annual grocery bill of $14,767.

That’s a seven per cent increase compared with 2021 — the biggest jump ever predicted by the annual food price report.

“The era of cheap food has ended,” said Sylvain Charlebois, lead author and Dalhousie University professor of food distribution and policy.

“Prices have been increasing since 2010 and the pandemic accelerated that trend.”

Soaring food costs are expected to contribute to rising food insecurity in Canada, putting increasing demands on food programs intended to help, the report said.

Read full article on msn news.