Coles has stopped selling Capilano’s “polluted and poisonous” Chinese Allowrie Honey while Woolworths will continue to sell it. Make no mistake this is the start of a Honey War between Australia’s 2 largest food retailers which may lead to a broader retail food fight focused on Australian made food and/or organic food.
Coles should be congratulated and supported for their actions as they are not only supporting Australian honey but also Australian agriculture producers who need a strong bee industry to make sure their crops are pollinated by the bees which is needed for plants to reproduce. So fewer bees means fewer crops and less food.
The Honey War is also pitting Australia’s largest honey producer Capilano Honey (65% to 70% market share) against Beechworth Honey who I understand is Australia’s second largest producer. I cannot confirm Beechworth’s market share but they are stocked by both Woolworths and Coles and it is believed they produce Coles homebrand which the bottle says is 100% Australian honey.
Allowrie Honey and the Woolworths owned Macro brand honey are the exact same honey and both are produced by Capilano and are majority Chinese Honey mixed with some Australian honey.
Coles rumour that they are only selling Australian honey
I heard a rumour on Wednesday (4/7/18) that Coles were no longer selling imported honey so I went to Coles to have a look first-hand and the rumour seemed to be true as there was only Beechworth Honey, Coles homebrand Honey and Capilano Honey on the shelves. The obvious honey missing from the shelves was Allowrie Honey and a few smaller brands. I filmed the below video while I was at Coles on Wednesday (4/7/18) and published it that night on Facebook and Twitter.
Simon Mulvany has also set up a Change.com petition lobby Woolworths to stop selling Allowrie Honey. (Click here to see the petition)
I emailed Coles and Beechworth Honey
I sent basically the same questions to Coles as I sent to Beechworth Honey CEO Jodie Goldsworthy as per below.
From: SHANE DOWLING
Sent: 05 July 2018 13:30
To: Jodie Goldsworthy
Subject: Media questions
I will be publishing a story in the next couple of days regarding Coles no longer selling imported honey and would like to ask a few questions.
- Are you aware that Coles now only stock Beechworth Honey, Capilano Honey and Coles own homebrand honey?
- Are Beechworth producing the Coles homebrand honey?
- Would it be fair to say that there is now a honey war between Beechworth Honey and Capilano Honey and/or between Coles and Woolworths?
- Do you think that Beechworth Honey will take market share off Capilano Honey in the short to medium-term?
- Do you think brands such as the Allowrie Honey, which is owned by Capilano Honey and is a mixture of local and imported honey, can survive in Australia?
- Are there any other comments you would like to make regarding Coles and their new strategy on honey?
Coles didn’t respond, and Jodie Goldsworthy did respond as per below but didn’t directly answer my questions which is fair enough as the questions did raise commercially sensitive issues but I felt I should ask the questions anyhow.
From: Jodie Goldsworthy
Sent: 05 July 2018 17:06
To: SHANE DOWLING
Subject: Re: Media questions
Thanks for all your interest in the Honey industry. Lots going on in the honey world as always.
Any day that has more Australian honey and less imported honey on Australian supermarket shelves is a good day. Beechworth Honey have been concerned for over a decade about the quality and authenticity of Chinese honey. Our company has never imported honey. Beechworth Honey brand is proud to be 100% Australian honey…. always!
People buying Australian honey from Coles shelves directly supports food security in Australia with bees pollinating two-thirds of our fresh produce – so Coles’ decision is a win for Australian consumers and Australian farmers. Great to see.
I didn’t send any questions to Woolworths and Capilano Honey as they never answer my questions.
Other media reports
Fairfax Media picked up on the story the day after I published the above video and said:
Coles takes Capilano Honey’s import cocktail off the shelves
Coles will no longer stock Capilano Honey’s controversial Allowrie product, which contains honey sourced from China and Argentina, with the supermarket chain saying it wants to support Australian production.
Capilano has faced criticism from some local beekeepers over its use of Chinese and Argentinian honey in its Allowrie product. According to Allowrie labels the product contains 30 per cent Australian ingredients. (Click here to read more)
Other media such as the ABC and Reuters have also now picked up on the story. But I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for Seven to run the story given Seven Chairman Kerry Stokes owns 19% of Capilano Honey.
None of the media that have reported the issue so far have understood the reality that a Honey War has started. Also, none of the media reported that Capilano Honey have had 2 recent loses in the Supreme Court of NSW suing Simon Mulvany and myself trying to close down public debate on the issue. (Click here to read more) Both cases are still afoot but they are frivolous and vexatious and bound to fail.
Woolworths say they won’t stop selling Allowrie Honey
The reason Woolworths are standing firm is because if they buckle and stop selling Allowrie Honey they will also have to stop selling their Macro Brand honey, which they claim is organic, as it is exactly the same imported Chinese / Australian mixed honey. It would also likely have implications for Woolworths full range of Macro products which are also mostly imported and which Woolworths also fraudulently claim are organic which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago in an article titled “Woolworths organic food scam“.
Woolworths will eventually stop selling imported Honey but so far, a few managers at Woolworths are digging in and trying to protect their jobs but the online campaign will continue.
Capilano Honey are in a lot of trouble
Capilano Honey can put whatever spin they want on the situation, but the reality is that they are in a lot of trouble. They are going to lose market share to Beechworth with the decision of Coles and I would expect that Woolworths and Aldi won’t be far behind. As I previously reported Capilano Honey also make Woolworths Macro brand honey and also produce Aldi’s home brand honey from the same bach of honey that Capilano make their own Allowrie brand. So, if Woolworths and/or Aldi also stop selling imported honey Capilano are in even more trouble.
If Beechworth are producing Coles homebrand, which I have no doubt they are, then I would also expect some of Capilano Honey’s Australian beekeepers to stop selling to Capilano Honey and to start supplying Beechworth Honey.
Where to now?
The online campaign to stop Woolworths and Capilano Honey from selling imported honey will continue and gather pace with the Coles win for consumers showing social media campaigns do work.
Capilano Honey’s appeal against my win in having their suppression orders lifted is set down for hearing on the 19th of July 2018 starting at 10.15am in the Supreme Court of NSW. If you have time show-up and watch and you will see just how scandalous Capilano Honey’s case is.
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