How to Sell Honey: Options, Regulations, & Tips
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If you are a beekeeper looking for ways to sell your honey, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we will discuss the various options available to you when it comes to selling honey. We will also cover the regulations that must be followed in order to sell honey legally, and provide tips on how to market your honey successfully.
Why sell honey?
Honey has long been prized for its sweetness and nutritional value, and in recent years, it has experienced a popularity resurgence. As people become more interested in natural remedies and organic foods, honey has become a sought-after ingredient. At the same time, the market for honey has become more diversified, with different types of honey selling for different prices. For example, raw honey is often seen as being more pure and natural than processed honey, and as a result, it commands a higher price. Selling honey can be a profitable endeavor, provided that you understand the market and take steps to produce a high-quality product. With careful planning and execution, selling honey can be a sweet way to make some extra money.
Before you get excited about selling honey as an income-generator, however, make sure you do your research into best practices in beekeeping. Backyard beekeeping can be a challenging endeavor and it does require a financial investment. You will need to keep your income-generating visions realistic and appropriate for your scale.
For many beekeepers, selling honey is just a side hobby while for others it is a full-fledged business. This article is geared toward the hobbyist or beginning beekeeper.
Regulations for selling honey &
what needs to be on a honey label
Before selling honey, there are a few regulations that need to be followed. First, the honey must be processed and bottled in a clean facility. Second, the honey must be filtered to remove impurities. Make sure that you have a space set up that is dedicated to extracting and bottling your honey and that it is carefully managed and cleaned regularly.
Finally, the honey must be labeled correctly. Labeling requirements are governed by the Federal Honeypacker and Importer Act, which requires that all honey containers must be clearly labeled with the name and address of the packer, importer, or distributor. The net weight of the honey must also be stated on the label. Additionally, the labeling must include a statement identifying the color, grade, and class of the honey. Finally, any artificial or natural flavoring or coloring added to the honey must be listed on the label. These requirements help ensure that consumers are able to make informed choices about the honey they purchase.
For complete guidance, you can also refer to the FDA’s labeling guidelines for honey or resources provided by the National Honey Board on government rules and regulations.
How to sell honey directly to consumers
Selling honey locally can be a great way to connect with your community and build interest in your product. There are a few different ways to go about selling honey directly to consumers. One option is to sell at farmers’ markets. This can be a great way to reach a large number of people in one setting. It gives you a public presence and allows you to get your name out there to more people. That said, farmers’ market booths often come with fees and a season-long commitment. This option is probably best for larger producers who can be sure they will have enough honey to meet demand over a number of months.
You can also sell honey from your home using personal connections or a visible farmstand to reach out to potential buyers. For a small producer (like us), this can be the perfect option. All we have to do is put the word out to a few people that we have honey available and we sell out of our extra honey in less than a week! Be sure to consult cottage food laws in your state to see if honey falls under those regulations. Oftentimes because honey is sold “raw” and not altered in any way, it is considered a farm product instead of a produced food.
How to sell honey wholesale (or consignment)
Selling honey wholesale or on consignment is another option if you do not want to be the one directly selling to consumers. This also works if you are having trouble reaching potential customers directly. Wholesale means selling the product in bulk at a discounted price to a market, store, or restaurant (typically 50-50% of the retail price). That entity then sells your product and retains the difference between wholesale and retail as their profit. Consignment means placing your item in a store and earning a certain percentage of sales as those sales are made. Different markets may operate on one or both of these systems.
You will earn less money per jar of honey when selling via wholesale or consignment, but you won’t have to do as much of the work to reach customers. You may also sell more of your product because it is more easily visible to potential buyers. In addition, placing your product in a store allows you to get your name out there and may lead to follow-up direct sales.
When looking for wholesale or consignment sales opportunities, don’t be afraid to choose carefully. If the amount of honey you have to sell is limited, choose the stores that feel like the best partners to you. You can make this choice based on potential sales price, traffic, and customer base, or simply based on the type of places with whom you like to partner. I have worked a number of times with local farm markets and loved supporting other small businesses in my area.
How to sell honey online
Selling honey online is another option if you want to reach the consumer directly. In this model, you can either sell your honey on your own personal website/shop (using a platform like Shopify to process sales) or you can sell through an online sales platform like Etsy. In addition, you may also be able to make local sales by advertising online through venues like Facebook Marketplace or local community forums (in this case the sale would still likely be a direct interaction).
Selling through an online marketplace offers similar benefits to a farmers’ market. You can list your item in a place where people go to buy handcrafted goods, and therefore get more eyes on it than trying to do it yourself. However, these venues will charge fees on your sales. As such, you’ll want to make sure that the income vs expense model is worth it to you.
Setting up your own website is a good idea for larger vendors, especially if you are doing a lot of marketing to get your name out there as a business. You will avoid the fees charged by online marketplaces, and sell directly to your customers. Building up the traffic you need to make sales can take time, though, so you’ll need to keep that in mind.
Tips for selling your honey
No matter which way you choose to sell your honey online, here are some tips to ensuring that customers will jump at the chance to buy your product!
- Make sure your honey is high quality! Invest in the extraction and filtering equipment you need to ensure that your honey is free from debris, chunks, or other less appetizing looks.
- Bottle your honey in an eye-catching way. This doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money on packaging, but make sure the jar is clean and the label is legible and attractive. Check out our article on creating labels for your homemade goods to get ideas!
- Become well-versed on the health benefits of raw honey – use that knowledge in your marketing and in conversation with potential partners and customers.
- Keep good records. Be sure to track all of your expenses and income, because all income will be subject to income tax regulations. You may need to consult a tax expert to learn how and where to report your income (and to determine whether you are a hobby or business).
For more tips on backyard business endeavors, check out these helpful articles: