Austrian beekeepers have claimed that pollinators “are also ensuring the food supply of vegans” as honey substitutes are becoming increasingly popular.
More and more consumers are opting for organic sugar syrup products which often claim to taste like honey.
Entitled using wordplays that avoid the protected term ‘honey’, these foodstuffs – which have manioc sugar, cane sugar or dandelion essence as their main ingredient – have developed into a serious competitor on supermarket shelves.
Upper Austrian beekeeper Wolfgang Pointecker heads the Association of Professional Apiarists in Austria.
He warned: “Any product name bearing some kind of resemblance with the word ‘honey’ is illegal.”
Aware of the strict regulations in Austria, firms based in neighbouring Germany are rebranding their product range.
Instead of calling their dandelion syrup jars ‘Wonig’ which would be too close to the German term ‘Honig’ for honey, these products are called ‘Wild Meadow’ at shops in Austria.
Christian Boigenzahn from Biene Oesterreich – which is an organisation representing Austrian beekeepers – said: “Honey is the result of our honeybees’ hard labour. It is impossible to replace it with synthetically produced sugar syrups that contain various aromas.”
Christian added that the pollinators are “also securing the food supply for anyone living a vegan lifestyle.”
The Biene Oesterreich director claimed the value of their pollination activity ranges around EUR 400 million a year considering the various agricultural branches’ dependence on their efforts.
Referring to a recent check by a consumer protection agency in Germany, Christian concluded: “These so-called alternatives do not feature any advantages compared to honey. Apart from that, some of them are even more expensive.”