Israeli FoodTech company Bee-io Honey has begun scaling up development of its cultured honey production system, which aims to produce hundreds of kilograms of honey per week – without the involvement of bees. Bee-io Honey announced that they’ll be able to start producing their cultured honey on an industrial scale by March 2022.
Bee-io is developing its cultured honey, under laboratory conditions, using natural nectar derived from plants. “It’s all based on plants – we’re able to produce high volumes of nectar from different kinds of plants,” said Ofir Dvash, CEO at Bee-io. He explained that, due to the company’s secret nectar production technique, it is able to produce a wide, exhaustive range of honey varieties and strains, each with up to 100% of its nectar derived from a single type of plant.
“We will be able to produce products that are very limited in nature,” elaborated Dvash, whose last name is Hebrew for honey. “You’ve probably never tasted coffee honey, or manuka honey, which is very expensive.” In nature, he explained, it’s almost impossible to produce honey that uses pollen from one type of flower.
“Even when we go to the supermarket and we buy eucalyptus honey, it’s not 100% eucalyptus honey: it’s maybe 20% or 30% eucalyptus flowers, and maybe wildflowers, citrus flowers – but it’s not 100%,” he said. “We’re the first in the world to be able to produce cultivated honey which is 100% mono-floral.”
A crucial part of the technology is the development of an artificial bee stomach: “We mimic the biological process that occurs in a honeybee’s stomach; we’re mimicking the enzymes themselves in the laboratory,” Dvash said.
“We are keeping the same qualities that natural honey has: Natural honey is antibacterial, and our honey is the same,” he said. “It has different vitamins, antioxidants, calcium, and many more materials that regular, natural honey has – but we’re lacking the bad materials that are very common in natural honey,” like chemicals and toxins. Because of its toxin-free composition, Bee-io’s honey will be completely safe for consumption by babies.
Expert beekeeper and activist Yossi Aud says that the current relationship between humanity and bees is a fragile one: “The history of the relationship between people and bees began as a relationship of worship; it then became focused on the medical qualities; and most recently, it has been focused on using their honey as a sweetener.”
Aud said that a solution for humanity’s desire for honey must be found in order to preserve the honeybee’s longevity. “The need to maximize the [honey] yield from the bees has therefore grown, and that has caused bees to disappear from the planet.” he said, offering his congratulations at the development of a bee-free honey.
Bee-io Honey boasts production on demand regardless of seasons, flowering and climate change, as well as the prevention of harm to bees, and cessation of their exploitation.