MeliBio’s Vegan Honey Expands European Presence with Aldi Deal

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Shortly after launching into the UK, the vegan honey from MeliBio and Narayan Foods is widening its European footprint with the debut of its bee-free product in Aldi/Hofer stores in Switzerland and Austria.

MeliBio’s European launch is well underway. After releasing its bee-free honey product, dubbed vegan H*ney, under Slovenia-based Narayan Foods’ Better Foodie brand in the UK, it is stepping into Europe after striking a deal with Germany-headquartered discount retailer Aldi.

Marketed as Vegan Hanny or Ohney, the new product will be sold under Aldi’s private label Just Veg in Hofer stores in Austria and Switzerland, as part of a wider plan to expand into other European countries.

What MeliBio’s vegan honey is composed of

The launch is born out of MeliBio’s collaboration with Narayan Foods, which was announced in late 2022. The $10M, four-year partnership aims to propel the plant-based honey into 75,000 retailers across Europe.

This isn’t the brand’s first foray into retail, however. In its home market in the US, MeliBio unveiled a vegan honey for foodservice under the Mellody brand. It even teamed up with Michelin-starred restaurant Eleven Madison Park’s e-tail channel Eleven Madison Home – while that partnership has ended, Mellody has evolved into a D2C entity as well, with pre-orders open for its Golden Clover honey.

Courtesy: MeliBio

This product comprises 80% fructose and glucose and 18% water, with a blend of plant extracts like red clover, jasmine, passionflower, chamomile, and seaberry, as well as gluconic acid and natural flavours, making up the rest. But in an interview with AFN, MeliBio co-founder and CEO Darko Mandich confirmed that the formulation is slightly different in the European products.

He added that these first innovations were inspired by light clover and acacia honey. MeliBio has scaled up to the level of a medium-sized honey company, with a capacity of making over 10,000 lbs or more of its vegan honey daily via co-packers. This means it can produce over 15,000 bottles of its European honey every day.

This is key given the troubling decline in bee populations recently. In Europe, 24% of bumblebee species are facing a threat of extinction, while in the UK, 17 species of bees have become extinct, with a further 25 endangered. In fact, beekeepers have reported colony losses in countries like France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Russia, Brazil and the US.

There are a host of reasons for this, the primary cause being human activities, including land use change for agriculture or urbanisation, and intensive farming. Plus, honey bees’ very ability to produce the golden liquid has also declined, thanks to widespread herbicide use, conversion of flower-rich land into monocultures, a drop in soil productivity, and climate change. All this makes solutions like MeliBio’s vegan honey increasingly important.

vegan honey
Courtesy: MeliBio

MeliBio’s route to price parity

MeliBio began as a precision fermentation company looking to make bioidentical honey in 2020. But it pivoted to its plant-based product earlier this year, as a way to accelerate its route to market. “We realised that our investors’ samples are becoming more sophisticated, to the point where chefs begged us to launch our plant-based honey,” Mandich told Green Queen in August.

“We heard our customers loud and clear, and that’s how our pivot happened. It shortens our initial five to seven years timeline for product launch down to three years, which is great success.”

However, Mandich confirmed that the company is still working on the novel fermentation tech, with R&D “ongoing and progressing well”: “It will empower us to go beyond the type of product we have right now, and set us [up] for success in launching many new products under the vision of creating the world where humans and bees thrive.”

MeliBio, which has raised $9.4M in total funding, is now looking to close its Series A later this year, which it will set aside for “growth and expansion” only. It will also help the company make its honey price competitive. In the US, a 340g bottle of Mellody costs $19.99, while the Better Foodie one in the UK sells for £5.99 per 300g jar.

vegan honey
Courtesy: Better Foodie/Getty Images via Canva

This is why partnering with Aldi was key, with the Vegan Hanny priced at €4.99 per 300g jar. “Our approach is really to get the product as close to the real thing as possible at an affordable price point,” Mandich told AFN. “Aldi is a massive global [corporation] that’s very price-sensitive, so by landing this deal we are confirming that MeliBio technology can play at that level of price sensitivity which Aldi requires.”

He added in a statement: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the demand from customers all over the world for our sustainable, bee-friendly products, and we’re glad that working with Aldi will enable European consumers to enjoy what is truly the best honey available on the market.”

Honey is a $9.1B market, and brands like MeliBio are trying to disrupt it with sustainable and ethical alternatives. Others in this space include Gaffney Foods’ Nectar, Blenditup, ChocZero, Plant Based Artisan’s Honea, and Sweet Freedom.


  • Anay Mridul

    Anay is Green Queen's resident news reporter. Originally from India, he worked as a vegan food writer and editor in London, and is now travelling and reporting from across Asia. He's passionate about coffee, plant-based milk, cooking, eating, veganism, food tech, writing about all that, profiling people, and the Oxford comma.

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