As more consumers learn the truth about the destructive honey industry, various startups are offering vegan honey alternatives in the emerging space. One such company is Bee-io, an Israeli food tech company set to start cultured honey production on an industrial scale.
“Natural honey is antibacterial, and our honey is the same”
Honey alternatives such as agave or rice syrup have seen considerable growth over recent years, but the vegan honey segment is about offering consumers real honey without the bees. Bee-io is producing proteins in microorganisms using bioreactors and fermentation to mimic the processes used by bees in honey production.
Bee-io has been traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange under the symbol BHNY since May 2021 and recently merged with shell company Whitestone group. The company is set for rapid international growth and currently has six patents filed in the US regarding its proprietary honey tech, with commercialization set to start following regulatory approval.
Save the bees
Crucial bee populations are in decline around the world, driven by factors including the honey industry’s demands on farmed honey bees, as well as pesticides and climate change. There is also a wealth of disinformation on the topic, much of it coming from the honey industry itself. Vegan bee-free honey could allow wild bee populations to recover and return to the natural pollination cycles essential to our ecosystem.
Bee-io can expect competition from another emerging force in the space, MeliBio. US startup MeliBio uses precision fermentation and plant science to create its proprietary honey products and recently secured $5.7 million in seed funding to disrupt the fraught global honey industry.
“We are keeping the same qualities that natural honey has: Natural honey is antibacterial, and our honey is the same,” Bee-io CEO Ofir Dvash told The Jerusalem Post. “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.”