Beeless Honey Helps Save Native Bees

Vegan honey made without bees is the latest buzz.

Nov 16, 2020

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MeliBio’s honey is fresh, delicious, and very rich. Although this sounds like the typical sticky treat, one thing sets this honey apart. It is not made by bees! This vegan product is produced in a lab.

Concerned about the future of the wild bee, the founders of MeliBio began this startup, opening in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. They understood the delicate relationship between bees, humans, and the health of the planet. Unfortunately, the health of wild bees is endangered.

A study by the University of Maryland found that 40 percent of native bee colonies in the US were lost between April 2018 and April 2019. Karen Rennich, executive director of Bee Informed, commented on the study, explaining that tough winters and less places for bees to land are to blame for this loss.

But bees are necessary to pollinate crops like ples, avocados, almonds, and many others that are listed on Pollinator Partnership. Without pollinators, many of these fruits, and vegetables are at risk. In fact, some biotechnology companies are now inventing artificial pollinators.  

MeliBio is addressing this situation by using science to replicate nature. CEO Darko Mandich told Fast Company, “We decided to look into science to produce honey just like honeybees make it, but removing them from the supply chain so we can help wild bees to thrive.”

MeliBio’s technology is based on synthetic biology, recreating the compounds that are typically found in honey. This even includes different flowers that bees would normally land on, so the honey tastes authentic. MeliBio conducted a blind taste test in which participants couldn’t tell that it was honey created in a lab. The honey they have created has the same texture, taste, and consistency as the real thing. 

MeliBio is stuck on a good idea since honey is in high demand. According to The National Honey Board, the average person in the US consumes around 1.3 pounds of honey each year, and honey is gaining popularity as people realize that it is a healthy sweetener.

There is much excitement about MeliBio’s honey. To date, 15 companies have committed to using their honey as soon as it is available, according to Fast Company. With growing interest in vegan food options, this is a buzzing market. Bee-free honey looks like it will be a hit. After all, according to the company, it's “Better for humans. Better for bees.”

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JACKIE SCHINDLER, CONTIRBUTOR
Jackie Schindler teaches EFL to students between the ages of 5-15. She is passionate about making English relevant, fun and memorable. She always tries to look on the bright side in every situation. She is an avid reader, writer, traveler and always on the hunt for the best iced coffee.