Almonds are California’s second most profitable agricultural product bringing in over 21 billion dollars in economic revenue every year (Almond Honey, n.d.). However, the success of the almond industry depends on pollination services offered by hundreds of bee farmers from around the United States. Although profitable for the bee farming business, almond pollination services provide an unsustainable business model for bee farmers. Bee farmers that participate in almond pollination are usually dependent on the revenue made from the two-week pollination services their bees provide in early February.
To combat the inefficiencies of pollination services for almonds, this project looks at diversifying income for bee farmers that participate in almond pollination by determining the practicality of marketing almond honey for cosmetic uses and uncovering new buyers. Almond honey is usually considered a useless byproduct from almond pollination and is wasted due to its bitter taste and marginal yields per hive. However, by building a new business model incorporating almond honey sales, farmers could diversify revenue streams and make up lost profits during almond pollination season. Minimizing the waste produced by almond pollination is also one of the project partners goals to make their business model more efficient and socially sustainable.
By building a current bee farming business model the entire bee business was analyzed for inefficiencies and opportunities. A cost-benefit analysis was then performed to determine the best scenario to extract almond honey to sell for cosmetic purposes. The cost-benefit analysis also helped build a new business model and BPM (business process management) that determined the price range almond honey could be sold at, buyers, and logistics.
Almond honey proved to be of interest to buyers and ways to sell and market the product was uncovered, however, the amount of almond honey produced by each farmer was too minimal to make a large difference in diversifying revenue streams for individual bee businesses. Though the project was unable to determine a more resilient and sustainable business model for bee farmers, it was able to introduce new business partners between beauty supply buyers and bee farmers as well as minimize almond honey waste.
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