Coles will no longer stock Capilano Honey's controversial Allowrie product, which contains honey sourced from China and Argentina, with the supermarket chain saying it wants to support Australian production.
Capilano has faced criticism from some local beekeepers over its use of Chinese and Argentinian honey in its Allowrie product. According to Allowrie labels the product contains 30 per cent Australian ingredients.
Ben McKee, chief executive of the ASX-listed Capilano, confirmed the change but said the company was working with Coles on a replacement.
“Coles is a key business partner of ours and we have worked with them to replace the Allowrie Brand with a range of new product innovations in Capilano Brand that are 100 per cent Australian honey," he said.
Mr McKee said there had been no quality issues with the Allowrie range of products which, depending on the batch, contained honey sourced from China and Argentina.
"The increase in Australian honey supply has also allowed Capilano to offer an increased range of 100 per cent Australian honey products to consumers," he said.
Mr McKee said all Capilano branded product contained 100 per cent Australian sourced honey.
A Coles spokeswoman said the supermarket was constantly reviewing its range to ensure it met the needs of its customers.
“We are proud to support Australian producers and the work of Australian beekeepers who do important work in pollinating plants and food crops all over the country," she said.
Neil Bingley, president of the NSW Apiarists' Association and a Capilano supplier, said Coles’ decision could push prices up but was likely a positive for the local industry.
“It depends on the consumer, if they’re buying for price they’ll be disadvantaged. Personally I’d prefer if they’d buy Australian, but there’s nothing wrong with the [Allowrie] product," he said.
Allowrie is a good quality product, offering an affordable price point for customers on a budget.Woolworths spokesman
A Woolworths spokesman said it would not follow its competitor and was planning to keep the Allowrie product in its range.
“Woolworths is a big supporter of Australian honey, with around three quarters of the range available on our shelves consisting of 100 per cent Australian grown honey," the spokesman said.
“Allowrie is a good quality product, offering an affordable price point for customers on a budget. It has proved a popular choice for customers, particularly families, and will continue to be offered as part of our broader honey range.”
The Australian Honey Bee Industry Council has previously raised concerns about the use of imported honey but when contacted on Thursday declined to comment.
Jodie Goldsworthy, founder of Capilano competitor Beechworth Honey which does not use imported blends, also welcomed the news, saying Coles’ decision was “a win for Australian consumers and Australian farmers”.
“Any day that has more Australian honey and less imported honey on Australian supermarket shelves is a good day,” said Ms Goldsworthy.
Capilano shares closed on Thursday at $16.70