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Recapping the Sweet Summer of 2016

by Chelsea Cepicky

6 December, 2016

The Arland Group’s National Honey Board team had an exciting summer full of sweet events, bees, honey and great attendees! Our team set out with a goal to help spread the education, benefits and uses of honey to a variety of groups. Below is a list of events that took place and what we did!

1.     Honey Baking Summit – June 6-8, Providence, RI

For our Honey Baking Summit, we invited 18 of the countries top bakers to Providence where we taught them technical information about honey; led them in a formal tasting with American Honey Tasting Society founder, Marina Marchese; and had Chef’s Melina Kelson and Richard Miscovich lead the group in baking demonstrations.

Attendees also had the chance to get up close and personal with the bees at Fruit Hill Apiaries, an apiary in rural Providence. Attendees went home with the skills and knowledge to incorporate honey into their bakery foods, various varietals of honey they could use to add depth to their products.

2.     Honey Baking All-Stars – June 27-20, Chicago, IL

The Honey Baking All-Stars Summit was similar to the Honey Baking Summit, except this time we invited 11 of our previous attendees from past years and had them bring their own honey formulas.

When bakers arrived in Chicago, they learned more in-depth information about honey and baked their best made with honey products. We also filmed them talking about why they love honey and use it in their products.

On the final day, we took a field trip to Sweet Beginnings, LLC., an urban apiary located in Chicago, where the bees feed on a variety of wildflowers and city plants. It was really interesting to see how bees can thrive in an urban environment. The bakers really enjoyed the opportunity to see where one of their favorite ingredients comes from.

3.     Honey Beer Summit – August 29-31, St. Louis, MO

We had 23 of the country’s best craft brewers in St. Louis for an unforgettable learning experience. Brewers attended technical sessions led by the National Honey Board, Michael Fairbrother of Moonlight Meadery and beer researcher, Hugo Patino. Attendees then toured a variety of local breweries including Urban Chestnut, Perennial Artisan Ales and Earthbound.

On the final day of the summit, the brewers toured an urban apiary in St. Louis, and had Jane Sueme, owner of Isabee’s Beekeeping Supplies, teach them about bees and demonstrate the process of extracting honey.

4.     Honey Editor Summit – September 22-25, Chicago, IL

For our final event of the year, the National Honey Board invited 11 magazine editors to Chicago to attend a summit based on honey products and trends. During this event, magazine editors learned how honey is made, participated in a variety of tastings and learned about products containing honey in a variety of food and beverage categories.

Attendees also had an opportunity to tour Eli’s Cheesecake. The entire group was excited to try some of their delicious cheesecakes, including the Honey Mediterranean Cheesecake.

Overall, the summer was valuable for both the attendees of our events and our team. It was a summer full of learning experiences, delicious treats, bees and new trends. We really enjoyed the variety of adventures and can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2017.

Celebrities and Honey Talk: The Perfect Buzz

by Alyssa Stahr

9 March, 2013

Day two of the Natural Products Expo West began with a different vibe. I knew where I was headed and exactly what I was looking for. Hall E was much larger than the New Products Hall from yesterday, so I made it a point to start out with some of the “big guns” that I knew used honey. Many had been the recipient of a product write-up, but some I definitely wanted to nab for a profile Q&A or Honey Summit purposes.

I’m glad I got an early start, because some of the larger companies with huge booths/displays/rooms weren’t too preoccupied to talk to me. Starting early in the middle of the room with Chobani, Lifeway and the larger companies who were show sponsors definitely paid off on day two.

After that, I made it my mission to kill it with this entire room. I was going to visit every vendor I possibly could and talk as much honey as possible. But first, it was 10:30. Phil Keoghan, host of the Amazing Race and honey lover (eek!) was due downstairs at the No Opportunity Wasted energy bar booth. I ran down to meet him, all the while trying to send a Tweet. I landed at the beginning of the line, and since Phil wasn’t there yet, I struggled with my phone, which was getting zero service. I look up, and there he was, walking straight toward me. He said “hi” and I said “hi” back, and then a girl told me the line was “back there.” I took my proper place, but the inadvertent line butt was way worth that moment. I was the first person he talked to upon arrival, and it was really a cool moment because we were both flustered (he for being late, me for no Tweetage).

Once I got the chance to properly meet Phil, we talked about honey, how his dad (who was a botanist) used honey on cuts and other injuries growing up, and Phil even signed his DVD “Love Honey.” It was the perfect moment and made my entire weekend.

The rest of the day was spent making connections with barbecue sauce, peanut butter, juice and yogurt honey lovers. I stumbled upon actress Jamie Luner, who posed for a photo without even being asked. I even got a chance to stop by the pet health section for some healthy treat samples for my beloved Maddux. I walked for hours and loved every minute of it—and I made it through the entire food and beverage part of the show.

I ventured outside for some food truck samples and reggae music, soaked in the sun and smiled at my success. It was a great weekend and I’d gladly do it all over again. I thank everyone for talking to me this weekend, and I can’t wait to delve further into your world of honey.

The Land of Soymilk and Honey: Natural Products Expo West

by Alyssa Stahr

8 March, 2013

Having never been to a tradeshow of the magnitude of the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif., I had no idea what to expect. Having been sent to the show for the National Honey Board in search of all things honey, I was on a mission.

My goal was to make 50 connections throughout the course of the two-day trek through booths and displays, and I pictured myself wading through endless crowds and long lines. I was pleasantly mistaken.

The badge line, albeit predictably long, was incredibly efficient. My wait couldn’t have been more than 15 minutes. Once I sat foot in the New Products Pavilion, I was in awe of the rows and rows of food, drinks, supplements and beauty products. I turned the corner to get my bearings, and boom—I saw a honeybee. The very first vendor I came in contact with was a natural products company who makes their entire line out of honey. I knew this was a good sign.

Being the celebrity nut I am, I searched for the booth that I knew Phil Keoghan, host of the Amazing Race, would be at. I confirmed his time for tomorrow, and lo and behold, his product had honey in it. Score.

After that I started from one end of the room, meticulously visiting each food and beverage booth throughout that floor. I taste tested, asked the all-important question: “Do your products have honey in them?” and was met with smiling faces and more than 50 connections for day one. I clearly surpassed my goal and got a photo of softball great Jennie Finch in the process. She was at the Chobani display (it was so huge I can’t call it a booth), and they in fact use honey in some of their products. Even though the show was packed full of people, I found it easy to talk to almost everyone, and vendors were more than eager to explain their products and services, even after knowing specifically what I was after. They seemed genuinely happy to be there, and so was I.

As for the “honey vendors,” I asked another great question: “What do you love about working with honey?” Here are some of my favorite answers:

“We love honey. We know it’s hot right now; it’s a natural sweetener. We get our honey from a local North Carolina purveyor. When we pair we pair with honey,” Salem Baking Co.

“We are looking at a kids’ line with honey in the future,” Blue Buddha

“Instead of adding so much sugar in it (the tea), we like to add the sweetness of honey and people can taste it,” Xing Tea

“The flavor is so beautiful. We’re all about the flavor,” Droga Chocolates

“It’s God’s sweetener,” Woats Oatsnack

First Honey Summit on September 26 in Chicago

by Erin Canetta

11 October, 2012

One of our biggest undertakings of 2012 has been our first Honey Summit, hosted by the National Honey Board at Kendall College in Chicago. This was a full day event of presentations, demonstrations and an afternoon workshop where all the attendees had the opportunity to bake with honey. We started planning this event back in March and it took most of the TAG team to organize. And although many hours of sleep were lost as the date approached, it was one of the most enjoyable and unifying projects we’ve had.

The day started with a very interesting Baking Industry Trends study presented by John Unrein, Editor of Bake Magazine. John’s study focused on how the consumer is changing and becoming increasingly focused on natural products.

Keith Seiz gave back-to-back presentations. The first covered the use of honey in the baking industry. This was a fun presentation allowing all the attendees to sample a wide array of honeys. As we sampled these, Keith let everyone know what the practical use of each is as well as any substitution facts. His second presentation addressed engaging customers with honey. This was a demographic study on the current health of the average person globally and how honey can impact a healthier life choice in our everyday diets.

Heather Henstock, a baking industry writer and former editor of Modern Baking Magazine, presented honey case studies. She took us through how big wholesale bakers are using honey in their products and how honey is a selling point for brands.

Kendall College treated everyone to a wonderful lunch with honey infused options of chicken and salmon while Melina Kelson, Master Baker and Instructor at Kendall, demonstrated baking with honey. This was very much a hands-on demonstration and attendees were invited up to get a close look at what Melina was doing as well as freely ask any questions.

The last presentation was given by, Baking Industry Research Consultant, David Ropa. David has worked with the National Honey Board for twenty years researching honey substitutions in baking products. He brought many samples along for everyone to sample the same product baked with sugar, stevia, honey and other sweeteners. It was interesting to sample these products together and really taste the difference. He gave substitution specifics and was able to answer a lot of technical questions for the attendees.

We moved into an afternoon workshop where everyone put on their baker’s whites and tried their hand at honey cookies, honey carrot muffins, honey mousse, honey slipper bread, morning buns, pecan sticky buns and/or honey cake. This was a fun session that allowed everyone to express them selves, socialize and share ideas. And the taste-testing was definitely the best part. Everyone was a winner and everyone walked away knowing a lot more about honey.

In the weeks since, we are still hearing nice things from the bakers who attended. We were able to create awareness for a great product that benefits our society’s health habits. It doesn’t get much better than that!

We Can’t Wait for Honey Summit 2012!

by Erin Canetta

13 August, 2012

One of the best parts of working at TAG is the variety our individual jobs offer. I can get a magazine to the printer one day and be on a plane to visit our St. Louis office the next day to discuss an upcoming summit for The National Honey Board just to come the following day and design two flyers for Safelite. I can honestly say I’m never bored here…maybe a little stir crazy… but never bored.

After discussing our upcoming summit for NHB, I could not be more excited about this project. It will be a full day of idea sharing where all the attendees and the TAG team roll up our sleeves and actually bake with honey. Of course this idea originates with our mastermind, Keith. But to be a major part of an event that brings so much back to the client is rewarding. It’s the reason we do what we do.

The event will take place in my hometown, Chicago on September 26th at Kendall College and we’ll partner again with Master Baker, Melina Kelson, whose professionalism and level of expertise is inspiring.

Out-of-the-box ideas such as this are what set us apart. To put on an event like this will surely give me an ulcer by the time it’s done because I’ll want it to be perfect. However, I know from the video series we completed for NHB, it’s guaranteed to be something we all walk away from feeling a sense of gratification and pride that we reached a high level of achievement.

Whether your interest is saving lives, selling cars, winning gold medals or marketing clients, when you’re doing something you really enjoy and you reach your goal, especially as a team, the reward is not measurable. So, now that I’ve really built this up and set myself up, this summit better come off without a hitch. I can’t wait for this event and I’m sure to write another blog reporting on its results. Stay tuned!