New Zealand drowning in mānuka honey after a boom in beekeeping

New Zealand is drowning in honey after a boom in beekeeping collided with slowing international demand to create towering stockpiles.

Over the past five years, global desire for mānuka honey and demand for home-based honey remedies during the pandemic helped push up prices, creating a kind of honey gold rush on New Zealand farms.

Now, however, demand is slowing, leaving New Zealand with reserves of honey far exceeding the amount it could usually sell in a year. Karin Kos, chief executive of Apiculture New Zealand, said there is a stockpile of 15,000-30,000 tonnes of honey. Typically, 11,000-13,000 tonnes would be sold in a year. She said the bumper 2020 season, plus years of newcomer beekeepers flocking to the industry, helped create the stockpile.

“We had a massive bumper crop in 2020 – there was a national honey harvest of about 27,000 tonnes – well above the average of 19,000. So that alone is a surplus of 12,000 tonnes,” Kos said. “Obviously as we haven’t had the…

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This article was written by Tess McClure in Auckland and originally published on