Etiket Arşivleri: honey

Honey Production, Processing, Packaging & Marketing ( SMEDA )

1. PROJECT PROFILE

Honey is a sweet and viscous fluid produced by honeybees from the nectar of flowers. Honey has been regarded a food with high nutritional value and enigmatic healing and preserving powers. Religion, human civilizations and history all have regarded honey a valuable and sacred food. It has been used by the ancient civilization for the purpose of mummification. Medicinal use of honey was very common among all nations of the ancient civilizations. Honey was also one of the favorite appetites of Muhammad (PBUH) and his disciples. Besides, we see that in Quran, both honeybee and honey are referred to as a wholesome food and a great healer for diseases. Human beings have been relying on wild honey historically; however, there are some ancient evidences suggest that in Chinese reared honeybees for the first time, producing honey for their personal use, not commercial purposes. By the introduction of modern agricultural techniques in different areas in order to increase productivity and meet growing human requirement of food, farming of livestock became an extremely attractive and financially profitable business in rural areas. Honeybee farming is also one of the areas where impressive achievements were noticed globally as well as locally. Through research and development efforts of Pakistan Agriculture & Research Council, European honeybee was introduced in Pakistan in 1980s for the purpose of commercial bee farming. Currently there are more than 300,000 bee colonies exist in Pakistan1 .

Definition of Honey

(According to Pakistan Standards Quality Control Authority – PSQCA)2 Honey is the natural sweet substance produced by honey bees from the nectar of flowers. It is also produced from blossoms or secretions of living parts of plants or excretions of plant sucking insects, however, honeybees collect, transform and combine nectar with specific substances of their own, store and leave in the honey comb to ripen and mature. Bees produce blossom honeys from nectar and honeydew honey from honeydew. Honeydew is the product of small plant sucking insects. Honey is significantly sweeter than table sugar and has attractive chemical properties for baking. Honey has a distinctive flavor which leads some people to prefer it over sugar and other sweeteners. Liquid honey does not spoil. Because of its high sugar concentration, it kills most bacteria by crenation. Natural airborne yeasts cannot become active in it because the moisture content is too low. Moisture content in natural raw honey varies from 14% to 18%. As long as the moisture content remains under 18%, virtually no organism can successfully multiply to significant amounts in honey, though, importantly, enough bacteria survive to make honey dangerous for infants (especially Clostridium botulinum). Honey consists essentially of different sugars, predominate glucose and fructose. The colour of honey varies from nearly colorless to dark brown. The consistency can be fluid, viscous or partly to entirely crystallized. The flavor and aroma vary, but usually derive from the plant origin. It should not contain any sweetening agents and additions.

1.1 OPPORTUNITY RATIONALE

In Pakistan, honey has been used both as a food product and medicine. Particularly, aging people and children are considered to be in more need of honey and its products. However, food table particularly of children and the older people is considered incomplete without the bottle of honey. The proportion of children and the old people would be the primary target market, which is, more than 50% of the total current population. Unlike other countries where honey is consumed throughout the year irrespective of the fact that how far they are located from North Pole and what weather conditions are there, in Pakistan, use of honey is traditionally discouraged during summer due to a perception about honey that it is hot in nature and should not be used during hot weather or in excess quantities which is perhaps not true at all as Arab countries where weather conditions are even more severe, honey is consumed in larger quantities both in winter and summer seasons. Nevertheless, in Pakistan and abroad, the consumption of honey increases substantively during winter and remain limited during summer (Except for medicinal use). However, an entrepreneur should rationalize the whole situation. While average household income patterns are steadily improving, honey, being an expensive item is purchased by a limited number of households in limited quantity. On the other hand, both eastern and western pharmaceutical companies extensively use honey for the manufacturing of medicines. Particularly, eastern pharmaceutical companies are the largest consumer of the honey using it in almost all major prescription/medicine. It is suggested that honey business as a trader would best be suitable for those operating other food products business i.e. spice, pickle, jam & jellies etc. Pakistan has a large agricultural base. During different cropping seasons, honeybee farming can be adopted as a side business to produce honey on commercial level. Honeybees also serve as agents for the crop pollination. It helps for gaining high yield rate and healthy production.

Crop pollination:

The share of honeybees in crop pollination is 80 %. It improves the quality of fruits, vegetable and yield of seed crops.

Source: http://amis.pk/pdf/Feasibilities/Honey%20Processing.pdf

Honey Composition and Properties

Honey is essentially a highly concentrated water solution of two sugars, dextrose and levulose, with small amounts of at least 22 other more complex sugars. Many other substances also occur in honey, but the sugars are by far the major components. The principal physical characteristics and behavior of honey are due to its sugars, but the minor constituents – such as flavoring materials, pigments, acids, and minerals – are largely responsible for the differences among individual honey types.

Honey, as it is found in the hive, is a truly remarkable material, elaborated by bees with floral nectar, and less often with honeydew. Nectar is a thin, easily spoiled sweet liquid that is changed (“ripened”) by the honey bee to a stable, high-density, high-energy food. The earlier U.S. Food and Drug Act defined honey as “the nectar and saccharine exudation of plants, gathered, modified, and stored in the comb by honey bees (Apis mellifera and A. dorsata); is levorotatory; contains not more than 25% water, not more than 0.25% ash, and not more than 8% sucrose.” The limits established in this definition were largely based on a survey published in 1908. Today, this definition has an advisory status only, but is not totally correct, as it allows too high a content of water and sucrose, is too low in ash, and makes no mention of honeydew. Colors of honey form a continuous range from very pale yellow through ambers to a darkish red amber to nearly black. The variations are almost entirely due to the plant source of the honey, although climate may modify the color somewhat through the darkening action of heat.

The flavor and aroma of honey vary even more than the color. Although there seems to be a characteristic “honey flavor,” almost an infinite number of aroma and flavor variations can exist. As with color, the variations appear to be governed by the floral source. In general, light-colored honey is mild in flavor and a darker honey has a more pronounced flavor. Exceptions to the rule sometimes endow a light honey with very definite specific flavors. Since flavor and aroma judgments are personal, individual preference will vary, but with the tremendous variety available, everyone should be able to find a favorite honey.

Composition of Honey

By far, the largest portion of the dry matter in honey consists of the sugars. This very concentrated solution of several sugars results in the characteristic physical properties of honey – high viscosity, “stickiness,” high density, granulation tendencies, tendency to absorb moisture from the air, and immunity from some types of spoilage. Because of its unique character and its considerable difference from other sweeteners, chemists have long been interested in its composition and food technologists sometimes have been frustrated in attempts to include honey in prepared food formulas or products. Limitations of methods available to earlier researchers made their results only approximate in regard to the true sugar composition of honey. Although recent research has greatly improved analytical procedures for sugars,

Source: http://www.three-peaks.netwww.three-peaks.net/PDF/Honey%20Composition%20and%20Properties.pdf