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Author Topic: Buying honey distributors  (Read 2626 times)

Offline omnimirage

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Buying honey distributors
« on: January 20, 2018, 12:25:34 am »
I've been attempting to sell my honey directly to consumers, going to farmers markets to do so. I spent a good 5-9 hours when I do so, and usually make a couple hundred bucks selling honey at $11-13.5 a kilo. It's a lot of time investment for only an average pay off.

I've been told recently by a local beekeeper that it's common for honey distributors to buy honey direct from beekeepers at $9 a kilo. Allegedly, there's no quantity too small, or too large when it comes to selling to them. The idea of saving all that time by simply taking a couple hundred kilos directly to a buyer, to sell all at once at $9 is very appealing and something I want to get into.

Unfortunately, I'm struggling to actually find these businesses. I was told that I can buy some magazine, costs $60 for a yearly subscription and there's a number of advertisements in there from people wishing to buy honey.

Does anyone know of any suppliers, or have any idea of how I could go about finding them? Would I need an ABN number or some sort of official honey supplier bureaucracy thingy in order to sell to such, or might these businesses do cash in hand exchanges?

Offline Dave P

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2018, 04:22:44 pm »
$9.00 a kilo would be a pipe dream dream i beleave Capilano is paying $4.50 a kilo at the moment for 1st grade honey. the ABK has honey buyers from all over Aus.

Offline eltalia

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2018, 05:12:45 pm »
$9.00 a kilo would be a pipe dream dream i beleave Capilano is paying $4.50 a kilo at the moment for 1st grade honey. the ABK has honey buyers from all over Aus.

Thanks Dave... I didn't wish to be the one to tell him brokerage is a whole new ballgame
for b'keeps. Himself and most of that ilk (sideliners) are way better off doing what they do
do. Jeff@Buderim knows the drill...Om could ask him over listening to whomever it is he is.

Bill

Offline omnimirage

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2018, 05:57:54 pm »
Maybe that was a best case scenario, seems like her information might have been off.

ABK was the magazine with the buyers that she suggested. It's pretty pricey for a yearly subscription, can't seem to find second hand copies to buy eh.

Do you use the magazine yourself? I'm attending a local amateur bee club soon in about a month, I wonder if someone there will have access to a magazine that I can look through.

Well, thanks for confirming about that Bill. She told me that I could more or less easily find people wanting to pay $9 a kilo, and that I should therefore never sell honey for less than that. I mentioned that when I first started out I investigated those options, and saw these companies were only offering $4-6 a kilo so figured it wasn't worth it. She said that to sell honey at such a price is undercutting yourself. Seems like she might have unrealistic ideas, I'm a bit unsure either way.

Offline 220

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2018, 07:35:03 pm »
Its a different ball game when you start selling 1.5T IBC to 500g jars.
$9/kg might be a good minimum for bulk retail sales but it is totally unrealistic for commercial wholesale where a processor and retailer are still to add on their costs and profit margins.
I cant buy lamb from the butchers or supermarket any cheaper than $20-30kg, I certainly dont expect to receive $600 when I sell a 20kg lamb in fact if I can get a third of retail prices I am doing well. Honey is no different and $4.50/kg is about a third of retail pricing.

Offline max2

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2018, 09:24:49 pm »
I subscribe to the ABK magazine and a US mag as well.

The ABK is mostly reprints from the US mag and Irish newsletters. Disapointingly few local articles .

Yes, there are honey buyers.

Gather By 0417495862

Berringa  03 84563453

Leabrook 0882627555

Superbee 02 68511155

And of course capilano.

If I would get $ 9/kg for my honey I would happily sell it. Capilano ( told yesterday) pays at the moment $ 4.80 to shareholders and $ 4.50/kg to non-shareholders ( told a while back.

I sell our honey at two markets for $ 12/kg in a glass jar and take the jars back for a $ 1 refund.

The stall fee knocks a few dollars off and I spend maybe two hours preparing and 5 hrs at the market plus travel time/fuell.

The jars cost me around $ 1 if I buy a pallet. The labels cost me 30 cents per jar - $ 9 sounds like heaven!! :cheesy:

Offline omnimirage

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2018, 04:37:00 pm »
I'm guessing then the lady might have meant she sells it to retailers at $9 minimum.

Thanks a lot for the numbers, max2, I rang them all. Berringa's number was no longer connected, I got to chat with someone from Leabrook , they sound like a lovely company, the man said that they buy at $5 a kilo. I think at that price, I'd rather just sell directly to customers. Maybe I'll be able to find some retailers that I can sell to instead.

How do you rewash the used jars, max2? Seems noneworthwhile to offer refund for $1.

$1 for a jar by the way seems way too expensive. I buy mine for $.6-.7 each. Where do you get yours from?

Offline Dallasbeek

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2018, 09:07:36 pm »
 Not my place to answer, but the point of giving them a dollar back for the used jar is to have repeat business.  It's like a buck off for their loyalty to you.  Even if you threw the jar away, you've established a customer relationship that's worth a lot. I don't buy the jar back, but I give them a dollar off on the next purchase if they bring the jar back.
"Liberty lives in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no laws, no court can save it." - Judge Learned Hand, 1944

Offline max2

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2018, 11:15:45 pm »
Hi Omni - the jars come from Plastene.I'm told the jars are made in Australia - the last ones standing. I buy by the pallet. The problem is that I'm in a rural area and the transport adds considerably to the cost. I can't handle a pallet here ( I have no forklift) and have to pay a person to help me un-load.

We pre-wash each jar , take the labels off and then strilise the jars in hot water and dry them in the sun.

Dallas is correct - we have very loyal customers. They return the jar and buy more. We can sell about 4000 kg mostly this way.

We also sell nuc's - again, pretty small scale but it keeps me active.

Offline omnimirage

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2018, 03:35:34 am »
I also buy my jars from Plastene. Makes sense that it costs more considering your location, I pick up the jars myself.

Why do you go to such lengths with the jars that you buy? I'm under the impression that such is unnecessary, and another beekeeper I spoke to online who also buys from Plastene has said to me that they spoke to a representative of the company that basically implied it's not needed. Rinsing them just in case something winded up can have some benefits, but isn't sterilizing the lids without benefit?

Interesting about the loyal customers. I'm quite unsure, but I figured that it's most difficult to get someone to initially buy a product, and once they do buy it and try it, the quality should keep them coming back anyway? Do you wash and reuse the jars that they return?

I'm sure it keeps you very active! :)

Offline max2

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2018, 07:21:29 am »
Sorry, Omny, I was not very clear.

We wash/sterilise jars which have been returned.

The jars from Plastene are clean and need no washing.

Offline omnimirage

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2018, 08:30:30 am »
Good to know! Thanks.

Offline max2

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2018, 10:57:43 pm »
Had a beekeeper calling in to buy some gear ( jars, actually!) and she told me that she is selling 1kg of honey in glass for $ Aus 15 and gives $ 2 back for the jar and a friend of her's sells the honey for $ 18/kg with $ 2 for a return!
Maybe my $ 12 is too cheap!? :smile:

Offline omnimirage

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2018, 02:11:57 am »
$2 a jar seems quite excessive. Does she not realise she can buy from Plastene? $18 a kilo is rather surprising but $15 isn't, I see people sell for that much and wonder as well if I'm not charging enough. On the other hand though, some people won't pay more than $10 per kilo (for the 1kg tubs anyway).

I'm finding working out the price to be rather tricky as well.

Offline max2

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2018, 03:21:47 am »
I guess the thinking is that $ 2 is worth returning the jar...and buy more. She know that the jars come from Plasdene but has probably worked out that driving down to Brisbane and pay more for small quamtities is not worth her while.
Here on the Sunshine Coast the prices varii from market to market.

I have never been attracted to the kg tubs. I don't know why but they look cheap to me.

Offline omnimirage

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2018, 06:30:15 am »
I suppose that makes sense. $2 just seems like a lot to me for a returned used jar.

hm, I like the look of them but maybe in a certain light they look cheap in comparison to glass jars. Nonetheless, people seem to buy them more than the smaller glass jars, they're the most sought out product that I have.

Offline Sydney guy

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2018, 11:30:14 am »
I just did my first harvest and sold out within 3 weeks, just from word of mouth. 400g glass jar, $10 each. I only had 64 jars but I too was worried that I priced maybe to high. Not one person flinched at the price. People want raw honey, not what you buy in the supermarket. Lift your prices people.

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Offline Dallasbeek

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2018, 02:40:17 pm »
I just did my first harvest and sold out within 3 weeks, just from word of mouth. 400g glass jar, $10 each. I only had 64 jars but I too was worried that I priced maybe to high. Not one person flinched at the price. People want raw honey, not what you buy in the supermarket. Lift your prices people.

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400g = 14.1 ounces.  Sounds about right.  I charge $10 a pound here.  That's a bit more than supermarket honey, but I agree that people want raw LOCAL honey and are willing to pay for it.  When I run out, people ask me to remember them next time I harvest.  I think $15 for a kilo is way too little.
"Liberty lives in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no laws, no court can save it." - Judge Learned Hand, 1944

Offline max2

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2018, 04:38:25 pm »
Sydney Guy - you are in Sydney, I'm in an area with too much unemployment and loads of pensioners.
The other beekeeper at the market sells for $ 9/kg.  His sign now also says " Raw Honey"  and I have no reason to think he is not telling the truth.

I would like to think that at my price  everybody can afford, Raw, Local Honey.

I used to sell vegetables. Now that is a mugs game. I used to sell a bunch of Kale for $2 - about what the locals would pay - visitors from Brisbane would give me double as they where used to much higher ( realistic?) pricing. The same with Broccoli - I would sell Organic Broccoli for $5/kg but the locals would drive to the nearest ALDI and buy it for $ 1.99.

Selling honey, like beekeeping is very local.

Offline eltalia

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2018, 05:43:02 pm »
(edit)
Selling honey, like ....

..... our poster pollie PM, Mr. Fullabull would have it, as business, "what
the market will bear, have the people decide".

One solid reason  I have largely stayed away from honey sales in my
b'keep path is I find the whole exercise distasteful. Even back when
80cents a pound was the best any buyer would offer I never "got on"
with those b'keeps whose yards resembled what today many cry over
as news breaks of yet another "puppy farm" bust. Beehives being
a box not unlike a packing crate look 'good' most times from the outside.
But one has to look inside to meet the Man... or Woman.

My efforts lean to having bees at peace in their environ, more as a
practical thing in their doing what they evolved to do. An' if by chance
there is a surplus of honey, wellllll, thanks, maaates.

Bill

Offline omnimirage

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2018, 05:58:14 pm »
I have people who walk away and don't buy products off me because I'm selling it at $11 a kilo, 1 more than the standard cheap price of $10 a kilo.

Offline 220

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2018, 06:17:41 pm »
Im selling  at $8.20/500g and $15.20/1kg in plastic bottles and tubs locally.
I decided on a base price of $10/kg for my honey and then triple my packaging costs to cover jars labels etc and my time and effort to package it for retail sale.  Customers get a bit of a discount buying the bigger tubs but I still get the same price/kg.
Locally what is in the jars seems to be more important to customers than the packaging so long as the packaging looks professional.  Many seem to like the fact the plastic jars and tubs have anti tamper lids.
 
I am looking at selling at farmers markets in Sydney down the track, my brother does 4 per week and currently employs half a dozen people to help him out on stalls. We will reassess pricing and packaging when I start selling through him.
With the market he sells in it seems to be very much a case of price being irrelevant, customers either want the product and are prepared to pay the price if it meets their expectations. Their expectations arent just about the quality of the product but knowing the farm it came from who produced it, how it was produced etc.
Rain today but I will spend half a day tomorrow picking blackberries out of the paddock to send to Sydney. Last year I was picking 50-100 125g tubs for half a days work. He was retailing them for $9 a tub and would sell out the first market, customers loved the fact they were wild grown and not farmed.

I guess the point Im making is you need to find a selling point for your honey other than price. If your trying to compete with supermarket prices then you might as well take the $4-5kg wholesale price. When you cost in the packing and labour expenses for retail sale, $9-10/kg wont give you any additional profit.

Offline Sydney guy

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2018, 06:33:08 pm »
Im selling  at $8.20/500g and $15.20/1kg in plastic bottles and tubs locally.
I decided on a base price of $10/kg for my honey and then triple my packaging costs to cover jars labels etc and my time and effort to package it for retail sale.  Customers get a bit of a discount buying the bigger tubs but I still get the same price/kg.
Locally what is in the jars seems to be more important to customers than the packaging so long as the packaging looks professional.  Many seem to like the fact the plastic jars and tubs have anti tamper lids.
 
I am looking at selling at farmers markets in Sydney down the track, my brother does 4 per week and currently employs half a dozen people to help him out on stalls. We will reassess pricing and packaging when I start selling through him.
With the market he sells in it seems to be very much a case of price being irrelevant, customers either want the product and are prepared to pay the price if it meets their expectations. Their expectations arent just about the quality of the product but knowing the farm it came from who produced it, how it was produced etc.
Rain today but I will spend half a day tomorrow picking blackberries out of the paddock to send to Sydney. Last year I was picking 50-100 125g tubs for half a days work. He was retailing them for $9 a tub and would sell out the first market, customers loved the fact they were wild grown and not farmed.

I guess the point Im making is you need to find a selling point for your honey other than price. If your trying to compete with supermarket prices then you might as well take the $4-5kg wholesale price. When you cost in the packing and labour expenses for retail sale, $9-10/kg wont give you any additional profit.
Spot on mate, I wouldn't even bother for $10 a kg and my bees are just for a hobby.

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Offline omnimirage

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2018, 07:26:03 pm »
The local market that I've been selling at already has people selling raw honey at decent prices, I figure I'm competing against them and a few are beekeepers who sell at $10 a kilo. I feel the only real advantage that I have over them is my products are packaged in better looking containers. It does come out to be a lot of input for only a little made at the end of it. Maybe I'm selling at the wrong market but I'm struggling to find a good place to sell. Maybe I can learn to present myself better and then be able to sell my stuff for a little more.

Offline max2

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2018, 12:22:29 am »
I can remember selling honey for 50c/lb!

Offline 220

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2018, 05:20:30 pm »
Im guessing early 70's in which case it equates to better than $10/kg today.

Offline Beehivelygroup

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2020, 12:18:40 pm »
The best way to reach consumers is by selling to those who are buying honey in bulk. There are examples of companies like https://www.beehivelygroup.com that have made a mark globally by providing quality honey to distributors who have a huge network. Their customers are loyal to them and trust them. Selling huge volumes of honey is only possible when you have certifications that meet global standards, have a flawless process, and most importantly provide great quality.

Offline Ralphee

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Re: Buying honey distributors
« Reply #27 on: September 10, 2020, 03:10:43 am »
Just thinking outside the box here -  Has anyone gotten onto mead makers forums and advertised there?
They would be looking for good local sourced honey and generally in a reasonably size (a few kilo at least)

I know i plan to try and make mead with some of my honey - when i get that far, this is only the start of my second year, so i am still a 'new-bee'

Not sure if that would get much results but i would guess you could get some sales that way??