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Sweet success gives confidence

Bay of Plenty Times - 1st May 2009

As many companies hunker down to try to ride out the recession, a select few are growing.

mossops_honey_Family.jpg
 Duane, Fiona, Neil, Wendy, Joshua, Charity, Ryan, Serenity & Hollie
The economy is depressed and the industries millions of workers are under constant threat from pests and diseases but Mossop’s Honey still plans to build a new high tech processing plant at Omanawa, extend its retail center at Tauriko and launch a skin care range to the world.
 "Beekeepers, like most farmers, are optimistic people and we have faith in the future of our industry,’’ said Neil Mossop.
That’s despite concerns MAF Biosecurity may permit the importation of honey from Australia and other countries, making the arrival of bee diseases not already in New Zealand inevitable.
"Honey bees can no longer survive without human intervention and when varroa mite was discovered in New Zealand in 2000. Some believed it would be end of the beekeeping industry and all agreed beekeeping in New Z changed forever!” We’ve learned to control it and there are some positive developments for even better methods being researched,’’ Mr Mossop said.
Confident the industry and Mossops will overcome the challenges it faces, the 60-year-old company has recently purchase 10 hectares at Omanawa where, within the next few years, sophisticated honey extraction and packaging facilities will be built to keep pace with their rapidly growing export market as they are now in 10 countries.
In the meantime the Mossop’s Honey Shop in Tauriko is also being upgraded following a fire on December 11, 2008.
In November 2007 the company released its own honey based Natruel skin care range and is about to begin overseas marketing.
"The response we’ve had in New Zealand to our totally natural range has been so positive, we’ve decided to release it internationally, even though the current economic climate might not seem the best,’’ said Wendy Mossop, who was actively involved in the development of the range. In preparation for this, company recently trade marked the names Mossops and Natruel.
As well as being one of the largest honey producers, packers and exporters in the Bay of Plenty they are also possibly the largest supplier of pollination beehives to the kiwifruit industry, placing 7000 of its own hives into orchards in 2008.
It was Neil’s father Ron who started the business in 1947 and Neil has been beekeeping now for 40 years. In 1981, Neil and Wendy bought Ron’s share and formed their own partnership, growing the business in all areas, increasing turnover to the present time nearly 40-fold. Today their children Ryan, Duane, Charity and Joshua along with their 2 daughters-in-law, Hollie & Fiona are among the 25 staff Mossop’s Honey employs.
The value of honey as a food and medicine has been known since ancient times but it has taken modern science to prove just how good it is, especially when produced in New Zealand.
"The work of Dr Peter Molan of Waikato University in proving the benefits of Manuka honey has been tremendously important and now his new research is indicating Rewarewa honey has anti-oxidant properties,’’ Mr Mossop said.
It’s that kind of research and their faith in the goodness of honey and other bee products which give the extended Mossop family the confidence to continue to grow their business.