Capilano is selling imported honey in Australia again. It comes from Argentina and they're marketing it under a new brand - Cloverdale, and an older brand - Chandlers.
The Capilano company, now officially known as Hive and Wellness Australia, had previously stopped selling imported honey in Australia following a public and consumer backlash.
Most of Capilano’s imported honey had been coming from China, but the company had failed to disclose that fact on its product labels.
Concerns about the possible adulteration of the honey attracted wide publicity, and major customer - Coles Supermarkets – dropped the company’s Allowrie branded product.
Now however, low international honey prices and reduced local production levels have prompted the company to reboot its importing programme.
In early March 2020 the company CEO, Ryan D'Álmeida emailed its Australian beekeepers suppliers with the bad news.
It said that some of Capilano’s customers had been asking the company to supply a “more affordable” product blending imported and local honey.
"(The company) has been requested from a few of our retail customers to supply a more affordable blended Australian and imported honey to meet the demand of the value-conscious segment," he said.
"This move will help us buffer the low production of Australian honey, so we can continue to readily meet sales demands across the business."
He said the company intended to launch a new brand of honey, labelled as imported honey.
"Initially this honey will be sourced from South America and blended with Australian honey under our stringent testing conditions," the company said.
"We will not be sourcing Chinese honey."
Later in March the company made good on its promise and the new brand - Cloverdale - appeared on the shelves of Woolworths supermarkets.
According to the label, each jar or bottle contains up to 90% imported honey ( to be precise the label says the bottle contains "at least 10% Australian honey".
No indication is given on the label as to which country the honey has been imported from although the label description says the source of the honey is South American rainforests.
The same Argentinian honey is believed to be in the Chandlers brand, which Capilano is marketing in independent supermarkets such as IGA.
The label on that honey, too, shows that the jars contain up to 90% imported honey (i.e. containing "at least 10% Australian honey").
Australia's latest official honey import statistics have recently been published in an Australian Honey Bee Industry Council newsletter.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, honey imports into Australia jumped to some 1,467 tonnes in the December quarter of 2020, up from 934 tonnes the previous quarter.
Of the five main countries from which the honey was being imported, China headed the list.