New Zealand mānuka honey business hiring as COVID-19 sends demand soaring

While many New Zealand businesses are crumbling under the weight of COVID-19, one honey business is bucking the trend.

Global demand for mānuka honey is skyrocketing and instead of laying off staff, they've hired 30 new staff during the lockdown.

The world's rarest mānuka honey is made right here in Aotearoa.

COVID-19 has seen global demand for health foods increase and the benefits of mānuka honey appear to be at the forefront of consumers' minds.

"That awareness is growing every day and most certainly COVID-19 has played a key in accelerating the awareness and demand for mānuka honey products right throughout the globe," says True Honey founder Jim McMillan.

The True Honey Company is high-end - their most expensive jar retails for over $2500.

Lab testing has shown that while normal honey has an antibacterial rating of around five, this mānuka honey has a rating of 31 and that's what people are snapping up.

"One person purchased 25 units in Harrods," marketing manager Jeanine Daly says.

That's more than $62,000 worth.

Independent testing says True mānuka honey is the most potent in the world.

And one reason for that is that the hives are flown by helicopter to New Zealand's most inaccessible spots.

"We generally start our season at the beginning of August at the very top of the North Island," McMillan says. "Then we progressively work our way down the country. Essentially following the flowering cycle of the mānuka plant.

Its runaway success means True Honey's picked up dozens of new staff members and are still hiring for new positions.

"I'd imagine we're one of the few businesses that during COVID-19 we've been actively recruiting new staff members to meet the growing demand, so I guess that's something we're very proud of and very happy about," McMillan says.

They've also moved into the old Oringi freezing works which closed in 2008 leaving 450 people without jobs.

"For us to be able to see a number of new employment opportunities and people working back in this building and bringing it back to life. I think it's great," McMillan says.

Great news for the town of Dannevirke - a town ready to share its sweet success with the world.