Khanyisa Melwa
Woolworth's new vegan honee, made by Herbivore. Photo Khanyisa Melwa
  • Woolworths is introducing a vegan "honee", made from concentrated apple juice instead of bee spit. 
  • To see how it compares to the real thing, Business Insider South Africa conducted a blind taste test with 10 sweet-toothed journalists. 
  • They knew something was up. 
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Woolworths is set to introduce a vegan "honee", an animal-friendly alternative to honey. Made from concentrated apple juice instead of bee spit, the new product is due to be available in 100 stores from 16 September.

The honee is made by Herbivore, a husband-and-wife team in Cape Town that also supplies Woolworths with kale chips, mushroom biltong, and date balls.

Finding an alternative to honey, which is essentially bee spit, was next on the agenda, said Grantham.

“Honey is essentially a food source for the bees,” said Grantham. “The population of bees is declining and yet the demand for honey is going up we’re giving people an alternative.” 

But replicating honey isn't easy.

Bees store nectar in an extra stomach, where it mixes with enzymes. When they return to the hive, they regurgitate the nectar into the mouth of another bee, a process that continues until honey is finally deposited into honeycomb. 


Willem Muller
Woolworth's new vegan honee, made by Herbivore. Photo Willem Muller

To see if honee could pass for the real thing, Business Insider South Africa conducted a blind taste test with 10 sweet-toothed journalists. 

The overwhelming reaction from our tasters was that the honee was too sweet and tasted somewhat like apricot jam.

“It’s sweet. It tastes like a toffee syrup, but also with a hint of apricot jam,” said one participant. 

Willem Muller
Testing honee. Photo Willem Muller

Other participants said it has a “sharp, sour taste". 

70% of our tasters said they would not switch from normal honey to vegan honee, and only one person definitely would.

Our tasters said they were willing to pay anything between R70 and R150 for their favourite jar of honey, “depending on the size and brand’.

The vegan honee is selling for R57 and is packed with 1363 kilojoules of energy per 100g serving, with 80 grams of carbohydrates per 100g.

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