World’s first bee-free honey claim devised by ambitious Dutch business

A major ingredient breakthrough has been claimed by Dutch plant-based ingredients pioneer Fooditive, as it starts key production trials of what is believed to be the world’s first 100% bee-free honey from January, reports Neill Barston.

Notably, as the business explained, in mass-producing a bio-identical honey that eliminates the need to intensively farm honeybees, it aims to deliver a scalable supply for sectors including confectionery and snacks.

As well as providing all the benefits of traditional honey, this will address consumer concerns about animal welfare and sustainability.

Leveraging the same patented biotech process already used to create Fooditive’s vegan casein, which was launched last year, honey DNA is copied into a proprietary strain of yeast. When fed with nutrients and precision-fermented to replicate the metabolic processes that occur in the honeybee stomach, this yields a product with the same characteristics and functionality of bee-produced honey – from taste, colour and viscosity to its health benefits.

The production trials will recreate the lab-proven concept in 1,000-litre fermenters, with samples to be made available for potential customers to try and test out in their own applications.

Fooditive founder and CEO Moayad Abushokhedim said: “Our goal is to provide the world’s first 100% bee-free honey with no compromise on taste, quality or price. The process of genetic sequence modification used in our honey already has an established track record with our vegan casein. We believe our process will be the stepping stone for a revolutionary advancement in the food and biotechnology industries, enabling any animal product to be mimicked and even improved by bioengineering plant-based ingredients.”

The development of Fooditive’s bee-free honey has been driven by concerns that common apicultural management practices in commercial beekeeping can be detrimental to the welfare of farmed honeybees and wild bee species that together play a vital role in pollination, increasing the risk of disease that can lead to colony collapse and declining wild populations.1,2 ,3

The global honey market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.2% between 2022 and 2030 due to increased demand from consumers who want to reduce white sugar use and focus on more nutritious ingredients. Honey is rich in vitamins, minerals and calcium4 and also has medical applications, displaying anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-cancer activity.5

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