Field Notes, powered by KPMG, is a weekly news update on news nationally and globally from the agri-food sector.
The New Zealand Government is supporting a group of domestic honey producers seeking to register the term “mānuka honey” as a certification trademark in China and as a result the Australian honey industry stands to forgo up to a billion dollars in export revenue due to a loss of brand recognition. High grade mānuka sells in China for up to NZD$400 per kilogram. The Australian government has declined to intervene on behalf of local beekeepers who are fighting the Kiwis' claim to exclusive use of the term in China. Sunshine Coast University Chemist Peter Brooks, who heads the Honey Research Lab, reported that New Zealand has the market advantage over Australia because of its reputation for mānuka honey but it was scientifically incorrect to say that New Zealand was the only country that could produce the product. The MHAS has applied for certification marks in the United States, the United Kingdom and China on the basis that "mānuka" is a Māori term. The US intellectual property office has rejected the application. The UK trademark registry granted the certification mark last year and the Australian industry is challenging the decision.