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Thread: Beekeeper/Honey Vendor Lingo

  1. #1

    Default Beekeeper/Honey Vendor Lingo

    Just about every time I buy local honey either the beekeeper or the vendor come up with the darnedest things...

    I've had beekeepers and vendors comment about sweetness:
    Either a honey is really good in their opinion because it's sweet, or it's good because it's not sweet and therefore more healthy. Really any level of sweetness can be argued in their favor unless it's average sweetness. I once asked a beekeeper what he meant when he said his honey is less sweet and therefore good for people with diabetes and he claimed that his honey was 18% sugars only. I was shocked and asked if he said "eighteen" or "eighty" (hey, maybe I heard wrong) and he confirmed that it's 18, less than 20. I said that it was impossible and he was genuinely offended.

    I've had beekeepers and vendors comment about their honey's health and healing abilities:
    While I do believe that honey can help you get better in some situations, I wouldn't sell it as something verging on the medicinal. But I get it, lots of people are attracted by that. What really bothers me is when they say that their honey is superior than other beekeeper's honey because theirs is better at beating the common cold. It reached a point where I was talking to a vendor and he basically had a honey varietal for each type of ailment: this is good for the cold, this is good to settle the stomache, this is good for allergies... Really, how the hell can you know this? And how do you know that yours is better at curing colds than the competitions? And surely the one which does not make your colds better (according to you) also makes your colds better to some extent, especially since it seems so healthy for other stuff?

    The more I talk to vendors the more baffled and shocked I become. Perhaps I act like I don't know much about honey and they try these selling techniques on me. It has gotten to the point where I get offended that they treat me and other customers like total idiots and I'm a bit fed up of feeling like I'm talking to a shady used car salesperson most times I try buying honey.

    Have any of you guys out there had any similar experiences? Can any beekeepers make sense of this? Does it really boost your sales that much that you're ready to go so low? Or do these people sincerely believe what they're telling me? Or am I wrong at least some of these times?
    Last edited by Stasis; 09-12-2017 at 05:14 AM.
    "Shouldn’t we say wine is a mead-like beverage made with grapes substituted for the honey?" - Steve Piatz

  2. #2
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    A beekeeper should never, EVER make public health claims about their product unless they've got FDA approval to do so. (If you're not in the US, then this doesn't hold.)

    I sell my honey on flavor, and locale. If someone asks me about the allergy thing, I say that some people believe eating local honey can help with allergies, and people who've talked to me have had luck doing so, then I enumerate the flowers in bloom while my bees are gathering the varietal. Then I offer a sample of my honey. If they want to buy it because they believe it will help their allergies that's fine, but I'm not going to claim that it will.

    Honey needs to be less than 18% water. The glucose to sucrose (and other sugar) ratios can affect the perceived sweetness of a honey. I believe it's the fructose/glucose ratios that make the honey taste as sweet as sugar, but give it a lower glycemic index. However, from what I can see the research suggests while there's no harm in diabetics substituting honey for sugar, you still need to count the carbs to keep your levels stable.
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  3. #3

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    I was a bit triggered when I posted this thread because I had just come from a seller who wanted to sell me honey I told him I wasn't fond of because he said it's good for colds. I was already going to buy 5kgs of another varietal which I said I liked. It was weird that he thought that line would work because it seems obvious to me that a person buying 5kgs is not looking to make colds better.. or maybe he thought I would be reselling it and he was telling me how I can go about it. In that case I hate the situation even more.
    What you say makes sense Shelley, but would you be surprised if beekeepers or vendors talked like that one-on-one with customers? I can't see how I could hold them accountable without proof of what they claimed.
    I'm kind of amazed that nobody else said they had similar experiences. Must be a cultural thing then
    "Shouldn’t we say wine is a mead-like beverage made with grapes substituted for the honey?" - Steve Piatz

  4. #4

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    My honey guy doesn't ever try to sell me. He just tell me what varietals he has and how much for 60# buckets and that is it.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

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    I would be surprised, and put off. I'm not fond of the hard sell, especially when I know there are questionable claims involved.
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  6. #6
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    Im a beekeeper and generally people have some sort idea that honey is a medicine for various diseases, unfortunately not for stupidity. I sell my honey as squatchy says. By which bloom they most probably has collected the nectar from. I do tell the costumer which one I prefer to eat, but that's it. However it has been a real discussion about uncapped honey lately, which has proven good against antibiotic resistant bacterias due to its lactic acid bacterias. But that honey is almost impossible to collect and will start to ferment after a few days. I have started a batch using it, don't think it will turn out well... unfortunately I do recognize the seller you describe. Some honey sellers/beekeepers look to them self as demi gods and believe that their product is much better than the others. Great honey comes from healthy bees and fresh wax inside the hive to which they collect honey to. So next time ask him/her about how much wax renewal the hive has been updated with during season. Fresh wax is yellow and old is brown.


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  7. #7
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    Stasis, I've actually had the same interactions. Most notably at farmer's markets, where competition is high and they are preying on the misinformed. I liken it to the old flea market demos, where there is a lot of one-upping going on to draw sales. I also see exorbitant prices to match the claims. I almost never run into that when I deal with a vendor one on one, outside of a seller's environment. They are usually very factual, only giving me varietal, harvest date, and price.

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