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Comvita launched its transformed UMF Manuka honey range to consumers in China at the opening of Comvita Manuka Honey Natural World at L+ Mall, Lujiazui Centre in Shanghai.

On 30 August 2019, the iconic Kiwi brand opened its immersive Manuka Honey Natural World experience covering 200 square metres of premium retail space and detailing the source-to-shelf journey of Comvita Manuka honey from rural New Zealand to retail shelves in China’s largest city.

Chinese celebrities and key opinion leaders walked through the interactive New Zealand landscape display, which included large-scale scented Manuka flowers and ferns, buzzing honeybees, beehives and a virtual reality experience. In addition to those in attendance, a live broadcast of the opening ceremony was viewed by more than 67 million people.

Comvita CMO Ben Shaw said Comvita Manuka Honey Natural World showcases the beauty of remote New Zealand landscapes and the magic and uniqueness of our country’s rare Manuka honey to Chinese consumers.

“China is our largest sales market, so revealing our new prestige packaging across the entire Comvita UMF Manuka honey range via this large-scale in-market activation demonstrates Comvita is entering a new brand era. We unveiled our new packs to New Zealand consumers earlier in the year,” said Shaw.

While all jars still feature the iconic Comvita™ red brand colour which Chinese consumers actively seek out on-shelf, Comvita’s new UMF™ Manuka honey packaging has an embellished honeycomb finish with a contemporary bee and Manuka flower pattern motif. Lids are embossed with the Comvita™ logo, and inside the product’s premium box, a brand booklet talks to the traceability of the rare honey from its remote New Zealand source throughout the supply chain. An on-pack note from Comvita’s co-founder Alan Bougen attests to the company’s credibility as pioneers of the modern Manuka honey industry.

Important among international customers, all Comvita Manuka honey jars also feature a range of anti-counterfeit design features to assure consumers of food security, and the honey pots and their lids are also BPA free.

At the Comvita Manuka Honey Natural World opening ceremony, Comvita Co-founder Alan Bougen was joined by NZTE Regional Director for Greater China, Fiona Acheson, Chinese supermarket chain Ole’ Senior Procurement Manager Zhang Haibin and Comvita China General Manager Wang Xiao.

Bougen told those in attendance, “Comvita has never relaxed on quality. Since our establishment in rural Bay of Plenty in 1974, we have remained committed to creating credible and effective natural products from New Zealand and sharing them with health-conscious consumers around the world.”

“Every bottle of Comvita Manuka honey can be traced back to its source, and we’re always looking for new opportunities to be an even more sustainable business – whether that’s by building New Zealand’s third-largest solar panel installation at our Paengaroa Head Office or planting 6,400,000 Manuka trees throughout the country since 2016. Comvita always undertakes restorative actions to protect the source of our ingredients, while working hard to ensure the benefits of Manuka honey can be enjoyed the world over and for generations to come,” said Bougen. 

Manuka honey is widely sought-after in China. Comvita had annual sales of $52 million inside China for year ending 30 June 2019, and since the company’s official entry into the market in 2004 more than 100 Comvita branded retail outlets have opened. As well as being the highest-selling Manuka honey brand on well-known Chinese e-commerce platforms, Tmall and Kaola, Comvita’s partnership with Ole’, a high-end boutique supermarket owned by China Resources, places its products in the hands of even more China consumers. In April 2019, Comvita acquired the remaining 49% percent of its Chinese distribution business Comvita Food (China) Ltd.

In May, Comvita celebrated 45 years in business. As the world’s largest producer and seller of Manuka honey, Comvita products are available in 52 countries and the listed natural health products company operates nine e-commerce websites.

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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