Save the Honey Bee
With Rowse Honey being the UK's largest honey packer, honeybees are obviously very important to us - no bees, no honey...
However, we recognise that the main purpose of the honeybee is pollination - honey is nature's reward for being a beekeeper and a necessary source of income. Tony Rowse, our founder, was a beekeeper with 1000 hives and we have worked closely with commercial beekeepers for many years.
As the honeybee crisis unfolded, our suppliers were reporting increasing colony losses due to the varroa mite and bee disease. We had to get involved to help find solutions to the problems. We fully supported the BBKA (British Beekeepers Association) lobbying for urgent additional research funding. We are donating £100,000 to Professor Ratnieks department at the University of Sussex for bee research which started in 2008. We raised consumer awareness of the crisis by launching our "Help Rowse save the Honeybee" campaign with information on our best selling Rowse Blossom honeys and a magazine advertising campaign. When we announced that English honey would run out by Christmas last year, there was huge media interest.
British honey only meets 10% of our consumption levels, so we also have to import honey from 20 other countries. The global problems of Colony Collapse Disorder on top of changing agricultural patterns and climate change has created a world honey shortage, with raw honey costs rising by 40 - 60% in 2 years.
Honey, however, continues to be seen as a pure, natural, versatile food and sweetener and consumer demand has been little affected by the increased cost on the shelf.
It is increasingly tough being a beekeeper. We need to find solutions to the colony losses and encourage more beekeepers, particularly commercial beekeepers. Rowse will support this by increasing the amount of British honey that we buy and sell in the supermarkets. This is a long-term commitment. We have been supplying honey since 1954 and the beekeepers need our help now more than ever before.
For more information about Rowse Save The Honeybee campaign, please visit www.rowsehoney.co.uk
Stuart Bailey, Chairman, Rowse Honey Ltd