During this stressful time one of my new rituals have been ending the day with a cup of tea and a book. Recently, we have been enhancing my tea with Bee K’onscious Artisanal Honey, a single-origin honey sourced from the finest beekeepers around the world. This includes a delicious collection of four flavors, such as Brazilian Cipo Uva, Brazilian Marmeleiro Prateado, Montana Clover and California Sage.
We loved testing out the California Sage honey with its sweet and earthy taste that is actually very sought after since some years do not even produce a harvest of Sage.
The line also includes a QR-coded label that allows customers to scan and trace the honey to the single beekeeper who produced it, which includes beekeepers who maintain ethical and sustainable beekeeping practices. The “hive to home” honey brand has partnered with TagOne, a provider of blockchain technology, to provide customers the ability to ensure the source of the jar is producing 100% pure, unfiltered, unpasteurized, non-blended honey. Additionally, the company is committed to packaging their honey in glass jars and shipping to customers using only recyclable, corrugated packaging.
To learn more, we interviewed Matt Kollmorgen, Bee K’onscious Artisanal Honey, who shared more about why he “wanted to bring a product to the market that is raw, never mixed, blended or adulterated in any way—and with traceability as proof behind it.”
Interview with Matt Kollmorgen, Founder of Bee K’onscious Artisanal Honey
Weekend Jaunts: How did the idea for Bee K’onscious come about?
Matt Kollmorgen: The idea for Bee K’onscious was born out of a love for honey coupled with a very simple reality: honey consumption worldwide has dramatically increased while honey production has been on a steady decline. How is this possible? Honey is one of the most adulterated ingredients in the world today. By mixing cheap honey with quality honey, adding sweetener syrups, feeding bees sugar water, most supermarket honey brands are adulterating their honey. To increase their production, they heat the honey to high temps for faster fill times, which kills off added nutritional benefits a consumer receives from raw honey. We wanted to bring a product to the market that is raw, never mixed, blended or adulterated in any way—and with traceability as proof behind it.
Weekend Jaunts: Your QR-coded labels are very different from what’s out there, offering the consumer the ability to know where their honey is sourced. How did you decide to do this?
Matt Kollmorgen: We wanted to not only say that we market raw, single origin honey, but we wanted to have the proof. With all of the labeling tactics across all avenues of food today, data shows that many are kind of bogus.
As an example, things like “free range” chicken–which most people assume means their chickens are running around open fields—in reality, all it means is that the chickens have access to go outside i.e. a small doggy door in the huge overcrowded chicken house with a 1ft by 1ft space that none of the chickens actually go to. Honey is no different with label additions like “true source,” “grade a,” “pure honey” etc. A lot of these labels are quite meaningless. In our startup, we started working with a blockchain company that built out a platform to trace every jar of honey to the source. The QR code is a way for our customers to know exactly where their food came from.
Weekend Jaunts: How do you determine what beekeepers you will work with? What standards/practices should they be following?
Matt Kollmorgen: We are looking for the highest quality and best tasting honey from the best beekeepers. We avoid beekeepers who use of antibiotics and pesticides and who feed bees sugar syrups instead of letting them pull nectar from flowers. We initially focused on just organic honey and we had to go outside of the U.S. because, here, beekeepers use too many herbicides, pesticides, and GMO crops. So there is no truly organic U.S. honey, but found that we were missing out of some truly delicious honey domestically. So we look for beekeepers that avoid harmful products and produce a delicious products. I have been certified by the American honey tasting society. (It’s kind of like being a wine sommelier).
Weekend Jaunts: For consumers that don’t know, what does it mean to have a product that is pure, unfiltered, unpasteurized, non-blended honey?
Matt Kollmorgen: It means the honey is taken from the hive and put into a jar. There are no processes. Next time at the grocery store stop by the honey aisle. Every honey on the shelf looks and tastes the same, this is exactly how they want it. They blend for a certain color and blend for a certain taste. Once someone tastes true single-origin, raw honey, they experience the different flavors and floral notes very similar to different varietals of wine.
Weekend Jaunts: What’s next for Bee K’onscious?
Matt Kollmorgen: Being brand new, the next steps are to continue to educate consumers on single-origin honey, the different health benefits associated with raw honey, and to continue to meet and build relationships with beekeepers all over the world. We are always expanding our lineup to bring unique and high quality honey to our customers.