Is honey vegan?
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines veganism as “the practice of not eating or using any animal products”. So what does that mean for the honey made by our bees and can vegans eat honey?
Honey bees collect nectar from flowers and covert this into honey in a special honey stomach. This is then stored in a beeswax cell in a hive and is a food source for the colony. It is a product produced by honey bees, for honey bees. For this reason honey is vegetarian but not vegan. Can strict vegans eat honey? No. At the Scottish Bee Company we fully respect that many vegans will not fancy eating honey. What we will say is we care about our colonies and do our best to put out a product that reflects a bee-centred approach.
What do we mean by this? Well we mean we want to respond to the needs of the colony. One of the many interesting things about honey bees is they make honey in surplus. This means it is possible for beekeepers to harvest honey without hurting bees or depriving them of food.
Understanding the needs of the colony means only taking honey when there is plenty and always leaving enough with the bees. A honey bee colony needs 20-30lbs of honey to survive an average winter. Being aware of these kinds of numbers is crucial to beekeeping.
On top of that we strive to put out a 100% natural product. Our honey comes straight from the hive to the extraction room where it is spun out, filtered and bottled. There are no additives and absolutely no overheating.
We want the honey we harvest and bottle up to have a benefit in terms of the environment. This is reflected in our packaging which is fully recyclable. We also donate money to our sister charity, Repollinate, to aid with wider environmental issues.
Finally it is crucial for us to raise awareness of the plight of other pollinators, in particular the 250 species of wild bee living in the UK. The impact of intensive farming, climate change and pesticide use has had a devastating impact on habitats where these species once thrived. Through our sister charity Repollinate, we aim to “protect and improve the UKs pollinator population”. We want to do this through building wildlife spaces, educating the general public about the importance of pollinators, engaging the government and supporting scientific research.
Any questions, pop some in the comments below, or why not check out our range of honey here