Sales of honey have been on the rise for a while now, and we’re not just talking any old honey. At one time, honey was merely that – honey. Now it seems consumers will happily pay up to £30 for a jar of Manuka; not to mention there are new varieties that include anything from a thick and fragrant Coedcanlas Welsh wildflower honey or Pyrenean mountain and oregano honey to heather honeycomb honey.
Variety is the spice (or indeed honey) of life and while many of us self-proclaimed foodies love this type of thing to satisfy our ever-expanding taste buds, what about the producer itself of this lovely gloopy sweet stuff, the humble bee?
We’re in danger of losing this producer, and there’s far more at risk than our beloved jar of honey. Did you know that of the 100 crop species that provide 90% of the world’s food, over 70 are pollinated by bees? And in Europe alone, 84% of the 264 crop species are animal pollinated, with 4,000 vegetable varieties existing thanks to pollination by bees? Not only that, about 70 different crops in the UK are dependent on, or benefit from, bee visits. Bees also pollinate flowers of many plants which help feed our farm animals.
There was news this week1 that the Queen Mary University of London has launched a project to assist the conservation of the threatened urban bee, by individually tagging 500 of them with coloured numbers before releasing them. The aim of the London Pollinator Project is to encourage the public to plant flowers in urban spaces that will help supply the right nectar and pollen resources for threatened urban bees, and hopefully increase urban pollinator populations. They are also being urged to take photos of the bees, with prizes available to encourage consumer engagement; scientists will be tracking the bees to see how well urban gardening efforts have been.
However, it’s not just the capital where this problem lies; we can all do our bit up and down the country, wherever we are. Garden centres and retailers nationwide can encourage consumers to support bees by creating a wildlife haven in their gardens; a ‘go wild’ patch that will allow insects and other invertebrates easier access to nectar and pollen supplied by flowers. Perhaps consider retail displays featuring wildflower, shrubs and plant seeds and maybe pots of local-sourced honey; or how about offering a simple factsheet featuring tips on how to cultivate a wild habitat? There are also customer promotions and competitions you can run for ‘Best Wildlife Haven’ perhaps sponsored by one of your suppliers.
Give us a call today to discuss ideas on how we can help you show your support for this important insect while increasing sales, on 01858 681122 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.