Why is Organic Honey more Expensive?

One of our organic apiary locations, in the mountains near Elena honey-hives-new-.jpg

Basically, Organic Honey is expensive because of the legal requirements that the beekeepers and producers have to adhere to in order to acquire the necessary certification that guarantees the honey to be organic.

The beekeepers themselves have to ensure that their hives are not cited within an area of potential pollutants.  They are inspected annually to ensure that their bees are only fed on organic honey rather than sugar water, there is only limited use of antibiotics, the clipping of a queen bee's wings is prohibited as is artificial insemination. And honey should only be taken from the hive from Spring onwards, once the hive has survived the winter.

Once the honey is harvested and is transported to the processing/packaging plant, all work must be undertaken in the presence of a government official.  All other (non organic) honey must be removed from the premises and stored elsewhere while the organic honey is being processed. Only then will a certificate be issued.  All this costs money, which is then passed on to the consumer.

It is widely accepted that it is very difficult to produce organic honey in the UK.  Why? Because the beehives are required to be within a four mile radius of uncultivated land (or organically farmed land).  They must also be a 'sufficient' distance from man-made pollution such as motorways, industrial areas, incinerators, dumps, etc. With official population figures of 65.7 million in 2016, these are difficult rules to adhere to within the UK.

Bulgaria, by contrast, has a population of just 7 million, the majority of whom, tend to reside in the major cities.  Compare those figures to the 12 million who live in the greater London area alone! The land mass of Bulgaria is approximately half the size of that of the UK, but even so, there is a massive difference in population. It means that there are thousands of kilometres of unspoilt, uncultivated countryside, and very little by way of manmade pollutants, with only one major road that runs between Sofia and Bourgas. Therefore, you could probably argue that honey produced here is exposed to little in the way of pollutants, and almost ALL of the honey could probably be classed as at least 'bordering' on organic.

The views from one of our organic apiaries

Miles of open countryside in the mountain region of Ruse

Miles of open countryside with a shepherd and his flock in the distance













Therefore, the small independent beekeepers are reluctant to undertake the certification process because unless they can guarantee that they can export their honey, they will not get the higher price required in order to justify their outlay, as all Bulgarians know that it will basically be the same quality of honey they can get for less than half the price from their neighbour, or on the local market!

All organic honey should have the necessary certification that supports these procedures and any supplier should be able to show you copies of these certificates.