Novo Mel, a Brazilian honey manufacturer, is preparing to enter the Arab market. The company, which is based in the southeastern Brazilian city of São Paulo, has created an export strategy for which one of the main focuses is Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.
According to the export manager at the company, Carlos Pamplona Rehder, Novo Mel is negotiating with three local contacts, a food distributor, a cosmetics manufacturer and a consultancy firm in the hotel segment. Product prices have already been sent to one of them, and the company expects to start exporting soon.
"Currently, Brazil practically does not export honey to the Arabs. Europe does. Europe imports honey and then re-exports it to the Arab market. We want to eliminate this intermediary," claims Rehder.
Novo Mel sells packaged honey in sizes ranging from sachets to one-kilogram packages. The company already exports to Mexico and Angola, and now it wants to start selling to the Far East as well, including China, and to Germany, as well as Dubai. The first shipment should be sent to the Chinese market this month.
Late last year, on a mission to China, Rehder spent a few days in the Emirates, in order to get to know and prospect the local market. Presently, Novo Mel produces from five to seven tons of honey a month.
Of that total, approximately 10% are exported. The company exported from its inception, in 1995, when it sold propolis to Japan. However, sales to the country were interrupted, and in the year 2000 the company resumed its foreign sales.
Products manufactured by Novo Mel are sold in 40-gram packages to hotels, 330-gram and 800-gram glass packages to supermarkets, 275-gram collapsible tubes to hotels and drugstores, and one-kilogram packages to industrial kitchens, as well as in sprays and sachets.
Raw material is purchased from beekeepers and processed by the company. Currently, Novo Mel counts on four large suppliers, which deliver the product on a monthly basis, and also buys from small beekeepers two or three times a year. With the largest suppliers, the company has contracts that allow for more thorough quality inspection.
The company is a family business owned by Beatriz Pamplona. It all started when the businesswoman read a book that criticized sugar consumption and became interested in honey. This, according to her son Rehder, happened in the 1970s. Beatriz began studying the segment, and even earned a master's degree and a doctorate on the subject.
In order to take the master's course, she put her three sons – some of whom were still children – in her car and drove from the North of the state of Paraná (South of Brazil) to the South of the state of Minas Gerais (Southeast) doing research on the relation between honey and the soil. For the doctoral course, she studied the relation between air pollution and honey.
The master's degree and doctorate were both earned from the University of São Paulo (USP). Beatriz also took courses abroad and participated in various congresses, national and international. Two of her sons, who are now adults, work with Beatriz at the company.
It was established after a Japanese wanted to buy the propolis manufactured by the enterprise. Prior to that, the businesswoman used to sell the surplus of her honey production – meant for family consumption – only to close friends and neighbors.