Can Kitemark create a buzz?
Scottish heather honey became the first ever food product in the UK to be awarded the new BSI Kitemark for Food Assurance.
The Scottish Bee Company says that provenance, purity, social responsibility and environmental sustainability is so important to its operations, it wants to assure customers around the world that “when you buy a jar of our ‘Scottish heather honey’, that’s exactly what you’re getting”.
The new BSI Kitemark has been created to help food organisations not just verify food label claims, but also go some way to get consumers to trust brands and see transparency in execution.
This is particularly good news for the business – and for food businesses overall. Many food businesses strive to take care of the environment, their local economy and seek professional as well as financial reward.
The Scottish Bee Company – founded by Iain and Suzie Millar in 2017 – came about because of the owners love for the environment and the honey bee.
Iain and Suzie took action when they found out about a declining bee population along with the large amount of imported honey. They felt so strongly they set abut producing more home grown, bee-friendly honey.
The actions they embarked on – promoting locally grown produce and environmentally friendly and socially responsible products in fully recyclable packaging – has led to a Great Taste award.
Now consumers can believe what they read.
To achieve its BSI Kitemark for Food Assurance, each step of The Scottish Bee Company’s supply chain has been audited and honey samples tested for pesticides and genetically modified organisms in an independent laboratory. The company also had to send BSI information about where its hives are located and must be open to being audited at any time to ensure they are in Scotland.
Through the tests, the business found that its honey contains 10 x more manganese than any honey in the world. This is good news for The Scottish Bee Company as honey is a target for food fraudsters. It is on Interpol’s list as one of the most adulterated and fraudulent food products.
As Howard Kerr, BSI’s chief executive, said: “people want to understand the important details about the food they eat… after all, customers deserve food that’s safe, sustainable and socially responsible.”
The Kitemark is designed to provide consumers with a degree of assurance that what is claimed on the label of a food product – such as composition, purity and origin. New stickers will be added to selected food products in supermarkets, it has been announced.
The products will carry a readable QR code or number on their label so that shoppers can quickly see the verified details by the BSI, if they really want to be sure that it has the seal of approval.
Some work will have to be done so that consumers recognise the move as a stamp of quality on British foods to confirm that they are up to standard.
Now, over to shoppers to welcome the Kitemark.