Dutch plant-based ingredients supplier Fooditive is beginning large-scale production trials of what they are calling the world’s first 100% bee-free honey, starting in 2023.
By mass-producing a bio-identical honey that eliminates need to intensively farm honey bees, the company aims to create a scalable supply. Alongside providing benefits of traditional honey, it will also address consumer concerns about animal welfare and the sustainability of farmed honey.
Using the same patented biotech process used to create the company’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 metabolic processes that occur in the honey bee stomach; Fooditive reports this creates a product with the same characteristics and functionality of bee-produced honey: from taste, colour and viscosity to its health benefits.
Production trials will recreate the lab concept in 1000 litre fermenters with samples to be made available for potential customers to try and test out in their own applications.
“Our goal is to provide the world’s first 100% 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,” explained Moayad Abushokhedim, Founder and CEO of Fooditive. “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 the bee-free honey has been driven by concerns that apicultural management practices in commercial beekeeping could be detrimental to the welfare of farmed honey bees and wild bee species that are vital in pollinating, potentially increasing risk of disease that could lead to colony collapse and declining wild populations.
The global honey market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.2% between 2022 and 2030 owing to increased demand from consumers wanting to reduce granulated sugar use and focus on more nutritious ingredients.
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Editor, International Confectionery
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