California company is making honey without bees

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Photo credit Sean Gallup/Getty Images

These days, from meat to milk, Americans are looking for plant-based alternatives.

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The Little Choc Apothecary in Brooklyn, New York, serves up a plant-based menu that attracts many vegans, and crepes are a big seller. “We make sweet crepes here and honey is a very popular sweetener for the crepes,” says Little Choc Apothecary Managing Partner Elena Beresneva.

But many vegans don’t eat honey because they avoid food from animals. So Beresneva is testing out new honey that is creating a lot of buzz. It comes from the startup company MeliBio and uses synthetic biology to produce natural honey without bees.

“We learned how to work with plants and extract stuff and create a proprietary process and put that together into a plant-based honey,” says MeliBio CEO and Co-Founder Darko Mandich.

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The number of honeybees continues to dwindle. Scientists believe several artificial and environmental factors are to blame. As the bee population drops, so does the production of honey. The USDA says it was down 14% from 2020 to 2021.

Our appetite for this delicious and amazing product comes at a huge consequence,” says Mandich, who believes his product could be an alternative to honey from bees.

So how does it taste?

It has that floral clover taste that a lot of vegan honey substitutes lack. It honestly tasted exactly like honey,” says Little Choc Apothecary customer Erin Mitchell Boyle.

Restaurants in New York and Los Angeles are trying out MeliBio’s product. The company hopes to start selling to consumers next year.

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