Recently, an astute UK beekeeper named Emily, was shopping at M&S when she stumbled upon a display of crunchy honey. Intrigued by the idea, Emily immediately snapped a photo and sent it my way.
Founded in 1884, M&S (Marks & Spencer) is a popular, upscale, store with an excellent reputation for quality and service. They also have a knack for innovation, something that has made them a superpower in the retail world. The idea of selling crunchy honey is nothing short of brilliant.
Crystallized honey is highly underrated
Crystallized honey is one of those polarizing products. Many Europeans love its practical possibilities: it doesn’t slip off your warm toast but still dissolves effortlessly in your hot tea.
Americans, though, want their honey liquid, even if it means warming it periodically to keep it that way. But too much warming can impair the flavor and antiseptic properties of honey, so I’m definitely of the crystallized-is-fine mindset.
How crystallized honey is sold
Crystallized honey is usually sold in two different ways. Often it is “creamed,” a process of controlled crystallization that keeps the crystal size small and uniform. The resulting product is smooth and spreadable.
If not creamed, the honey may simply be labeled “honey.” Here in the states, we often see a supplementary label explaining that crystallization is a normal process that can be reversed by warming the jar in a pan of hot water.
Crunchy honey is not past its pull date
Many people go to great lengths to avoid crystallized honey as if it is somehow past its “best by” date. But that is simply not true. The rate of crystallization depends on several things, but the most important factor is the nectar source. Crystallization does not equate with “old” because some honey starts to crystallize even before harvest.
Rebranding crystallized honey as crunchy honey sheds a whole new light on an overlooked product. Instead of concealing what the package contains, the label tells you exactly what’s inside: honey that goes “crunch” when you eat it.
Seeing honey in a new light
I like the rebranding idea because it helps consumers understand that nothing is wrong with crystallized honey. Crystallization is simply a natural process where the sugar molecules arrange themselves into crystals, just like rock candy.
Sometimes it helps to look at things in a different way. Just as we accept ice as a form of water, we should accept crystalline honey as just another form of honey.
Many thanks to Emily for pointing out a clever product and to M&S for their creativity.
Honey Bee Suite