Issue 43 – October 2012
J Friend and Co honey is the first honey in the world to achieve carboNZero cert certification. Owners Jeremy Friend and Sharyn Woodnorth agree that meeting Standards plays a key part in building trust in their honey and helps to back up their claims about their business and products.
'Our whole business and products are carboNZero cert certified and this is important to our customers,' says Jeremy. 'We compete on quality, not price. Many people care about who produces a product and how it's produced. For those people, if a company is causing damage to the environment, they won't buy the product.
'Our honey is certified organic and every jar of honey is traceable. We produce small batches and we label the jar with the hive it came from and the date, and each jar is traceable through our website.
'A key benefit of being carboNZero cert, certified organic, and traceable, is that retailers and international customers take us seriously. It helps us to start a conversation – they can see the face of the person that made the honey and that builds trust in us. Also, the beekeepers enjoy being recognised for the integral part they play in producing J Friend and Co honey.'
Jeremy says the easiest way to back up their claims is to be audited and that Standards are a key part of this.
'Firstly, our honey is the first in the world to achieve carboNZero cert certification. We are audited by carboNZero cert against ISO 14065:2007 Greenhouse gases – Requirements for greenhouse gas validation and verification bodies for use in accreditation or other forms of recognition.
'We have full carboNZero cert certification for the energy we use in our business and for our honey. This covers the whole management of the business and what happens outside of the business too, including the beekeepers, the creation of jars, the shipping of jars, and so on.
'We know what we do is correct and no one can challenge it. It's a lot of work but it's helped us to create a real niche for our product.
'Secondly, we buy the honey and trace it the whole way through. Our honey is certified organic by Asurequality. We buy honey off beekeepers that are certified organic – they have restrictions on where they can locate their hives. They cannot use chemicals and therefore they need to tend the hives more frequently and with the upmost care and attention.'
'Our processing method ensures the honey is kept pure and the integrity of the product is maintained. – To achieve organic certification takes a lot more effort and means that every step in our processing method is monitored and closely controlled.'
J Friend and Co honey recently won a Cuisine and Cafe L'Affare Supreme Artisan Award 2012 for its Pohutakawa Honey and won Cuisine and Cafe L'Affare awards in 2011 and 2010. J Friend and Co honey also won several New Zealand Food awards for their honey in 2011 and was a finalist in the 2012 Government run Green Ribbon Awards, which recognise companies whose businesses practices are environmentally focused.
'We are a small company producing exceptional New Zealand honey and our loyal customers recognise and appreciate this. We're doing things no one else has done.' J Friend and Co honey is sold in New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Hong Kong, and Japan, and Jeremy says he is constantly getting requests for new markets. 'We need to be careful as we want to be in premium stores that can give our product the backing it needs.'
Jeremy says New Zealand has a fantastic, pure, clean, green brand that Standards can help to back up. 'New Zealand businesses should be looking at how they can push this further. We need to promote high quality organic products with Standards to back them up.'