After all the hard work done by the bees and the beekeeper, it’s time to package your honey harvest. But, there is more to preparing your product than just putting it in a container. Labeling honey correctly is important if you hope to sell the excess harvest. But, before you can sell those jars of honey, you need to learn the ins and outs of how to label honey legally.
What Goes on Your Honey Label?
Does Raw Honey Need a Label?
If you are receiving money for your honey, you need to have a label on the jar. It is not a recommendation -it is the law.
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The best honey labels meet the legal requirements of your state and make your jar of honey look good too. Your honey deserves an attractive package.
Beyond being legal, having a proper honey label is a show of respect. Respect for the bees, the beekeeper and the lucky consumer who will enjoy the end product. Selling a few jars is a good way to recoup some of the expenses of maintaining beehives.
Honey Label Design
Selling honey is much like marketing of any other kind. If you keep bees for many years, your honey label design will evolve over time.
I have used several different colors and styles on my honey jars. You will find yourself trying new shapes, fonts, etc and that’s okay as you search for just the right one.
Eventually you may develop an image or color that defines your “brand”, this become the base of your label design.
You can still make small changes but you want people to recognize your honey jars – and they will. They may not remember your name but they will recognize the label.
If you hope to sell honey at the local markets or craft fair ask yourself one question, is my honey label eye-catching?
If not, you may want to do a bit more design work. Your jar of honey needs to stand out and be noticed among rows of similar products.
The best honey label design involves a bit of opinion. Some people think a picture of a bee should always be on the jar and others feel this distracts from sales.
Do some testing and see what your target audience prefers. Perhaps you can create 2 labels with different designs and see which ones people are drawn to.
Unless you are a large commercial beekeeper with the money and insurance to back it up, I would refrain from using the words “natural” and “organic” on your honey label.
These terms are used heavily in marketing. But, you can get into legal trouble using one without the official certification.
The basic term “Pure” seems safe to use as it is clarification that your honey jar contains nothing but honey.
Labeling Honey Special Varieties
Bees collect plant nectar from millions of floral sources. Back in the hive, this nectar is often mixed together. The resulting honey made has many different nectar sources.
Most honey is considered Wildflower Honey. This means that it is a mixture of the nectar from many different plants. But not necessarily tiny little wildflowers – that’s what I used to think ;).
If you live in an agricultural section of the country, or hire your bees out for pollination – you may produce some variety honey. Common types are Orange Blossom, Tupelo, Clover, Sourwood Honey and more.
Your honey jar label should reflect to the best of your knowledge a true nectar source. This is why most jars of honey that you see will just say “honey” or Wildflower honey.
You do not have to include the floral source. However, if your customer wants clover honey or sourwood honey and you know the product to be primarly monofloral– it’s a nice touch to add the source.
Avoid confusing the consumer. You must be true to the extent possible when selling honey that you produced.
Do not label a product as orange blossom honey if the nearest tree is 200 miles away from your hives. Understanding your product and the true facts about honey – will help you market your product.
Honey Labeling Laws – Create a Legal Label
Whether you plan to give away your honey crop or sell hundreds of jars, create a legal label. It is beyond the scope of this article to tell you exactly what to put on the label.
This is because different states have different requirements. However, I can give you some basics that are almost always required.
Check with your state’s agricultural department for a full list of requirements. Luckily, most states follow the honey labeling requirements of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) .
If your region has additional requirements add them to your design. Another great resource is the National Honey Board.
What is Required on a Honey Label
These are the basics honey label requirements but you can certainly add additional information to help your customers understand why they should buy your honey.
- “Honey” in a large clear font
- Net weight in ounces and grams
- Contact info for producer
Honey Label Basic Requirements
In most cases you are selling pure honey straight from the hive with no additives. This is an easy one.
The word “honey” should be on the front panel of the label and it should be in an easy to read, large legible font.
Honey is sold on the market by weight not volume. You must list the net weight of the honey on the lower 1/3 of the front panel. List the weight in ounces and grams. This is the weight of the product inside the jar – it does not include the jar and lid.
No, you can not use the volume amount listed for canning jars. A 32 fluid ounce quart canning jar – hold 44 oz net weight of honey.
The font should be legible and large enough to read. (1 oz = 28.3495 grams -using no more than 3 digits after decimal point. You do the math.)
It is okay to overfill the jar a bit to be safe – I always did. But, you must have as much product inside the jar as the label says. The consumer must know what they are getting for the cost.
Contact Information on the Honey Jar
Your honey label must show the contact information for the producer. A consumer must be able to get into contact with the person that is providing the product for sale.
Name, address and in some states phone number must be on the label. Some states will allow you to use an email address but you need to check.
You may think this is a waste of time if you are only giving jars away to family and friends. Not so! They may like it so well that they want to buy some in the future and they need to be able to contact you.
Are Nutrition Labels Required?
Small honey producers are not required to have a nutrition facts label in most states. If you produce thousands of units each year, that could change. Again, check with your local ag department.
Having a nutrition label does lend an air of authority to your product. Consumers are accustom to looking for it on food items.
So, that might be something to consider when labeling honey for the craft fair. Pre-made honey nutrition labels are available to purchase.
Honey Ingredient Labels
You do not need to include an ingredient label if the product is pure honey with nothing added.
Honey is defined by the FDA as – “Honey – a thick sweet substances that bees make as food from plant nectar or secretions of living plants.”
If you decide to add any flavoring to your honey, it must be listed on the label. Even in the case of infused honey : like my Jalapeno Honey.
Both ingredients would be listed on the label. This is so the end consumer will know what they are buying.
Most beekeepers do not bother with an ingredient label as long as it is not required in your local region. A jar of pure honey is just that – honey.
Labeling Jars of Different Sizes
In labeling honey jars, one size does not fit all. If you use widely different sizes of jars, you need different sizes of labels.
The label should accent the beauty of your honey – not distract from it. A sloppy label can make your honey jar less appealing.
Larger jars need larger labels. But, don’t use a label so large that it hides the view of your beautiful honey.
Smaller jars can have a smaller label or even a hang tag that is attached by a pretty ribbon or twine.
Ordering Honey Labels Online
Many beekeepers print their own labels with a design they create. They use blank sheets of die cut labels in an inkjet or laser printer.
You will also find pre-printed honey labels for sale online. Often, these can be ordered with your name and contact info imprinted on the label.
A Final Word on Honey Labels
Designing a proper label for your jars of honey with the correct required information is the first step in selling. Some regions require a permit to sell honey and others have exemptions for small producers. Take the time to do a good job when labeling honey for sale or even gifts for honey lovers. You and the bees deserve the credit.