Blue Ridge Honey Company
Lauren Sellers, Julie Woodward, Justin Gahring,
Cori Kempshall, and Megan Mclendon
1 Executive Summary
BlueRidge Honey Company is afamily business located in northern Georgia
dedicated to producingsustainable, high quality honey that is pure, natural,
and non-pasteurized from our localhives. Weare a privately owned company
that is inspected and approved througha third party Food Safety and Quality
Auditconducted by NSF Cook & Thurber. Wesell our honey through farmer’s
markets, online, wholesalers and retailers. Alongwith honey, the BlueRidge
Honey Company providesbeeswax and offerspollination services.
Weare differentiated through our locally uniquetypesof honey, our Bee
School, and selling our bees posthoney season to grovesto help pollinate
their crops. With these differentiated pointswe intend to expand our business
further with our currentcustomersas well as developinguntapped segments.
Weaim to increase our brand awarenessby increasing our social media
presence. Our company aims to expand our distribution network to include
moreorganic and local stores. This will help usreach our goal to increase our
In the followingdocument, wewill discussin depth the surroundingindustry
of the BlueRidgeHoney Company and how our productsdifferentiateusin
the competitive honey and sweetenersindustries.
2 Table of Contents
1 Title Page
2 Executive Summary
4 Goals and Objectives
5 SWOT Analysis
6 Situational Analysis
11 Marketing Strategies
15 Calendar for Marketing Efforts
Expand our distribution network of honey to new retailers
Increase brand awareness of the Blue Ridge Honey Company
Improve internet marketing and social media sites
Increase sales online, in store, and through retailers
Expand brand awareness through social media with videos, written
updates, pictures, and online brochures
Increase our followers on various social media sites by 20% in the first
Expand our distribution network to include organic specialty stores such
as a few Whole foods stores in the Southeastern region
Improve in-store sales by 25% by utilizing localized ads to elicit foot traffic
to the store and promoting direct online sales
Increase business to business sales to include more local stores in the
southeast and increase shelf space within the established stores
5 SWOT Analysis
Bob was voted the 2003 Georgia
State Beekeeper of the Year by the
Georgia State Beekeepers
Selection of products other than
honey include bees wax and candles
Wide selection of honey from a
variety of seven plants and flowers
Unique product selection
Bee Keeping has positive
Well established relationships with
Threatened bee source
Colony Collapse Disorder
Limited diferentiation for the
Lack of customer awareness
about product benefits
Expansion outside Southeatstern
Expand distribution of honey to
include new retailers such as Whole
Foods and other organic supply
Expand product line
Increase awareness for local honey
Increase amount of behives in their
Offer sending bees by the truckload
to groves for pollination purposes
Connect with local crafters in the
Bee School expansion to further
Education concerning how vital bees
are to the ecosystem and food supply
Many widely known competitors
Cheaper production in China
Limited differentiation in the
Cost of producting wax is high
6 Situational Analysis
Macro-Level External Environment
Political, Legal, and Ethical Environment
o The honey industry has undergone recent political, legal and ethical
dilemmas because of the drastic decline in the honeybee population. Many
officials believe the decrease in the population is because of insecticide use.
Because of the severity of this situation, the EU is regulating the amount and
type of insecticides used near where the bees live and pollenate. Scientists
call the regulation of insecticides a precautionary principle because if not
handled promptly and properly the results for the bee population could be
drastic. This challenges the ethical context of beekeeping and the harvesting
of honey. The Blue Ridge Honey Company is doing everything to maintain a
healthy bee population while producing the best quality product possible.
o The honey industry is struggling to expand because of the recent decrease in
bee populations. This decline will lead to a decrease in supply and an
increase in prices for the final consumer. This increase in price will affect
those who purchase honey as a luxury and not a necessity. The Blue Ridge
Honey Company provides raw honey as opposed to processes honey. Our
products are appealing to the upper class, educated individuals who most
likely purchase honey on a regular basis for health benefits or for typical
consumption. Our company distributes to the southeastern United States
and will appeal to similar people in the individual market areas.
o There are multiple emerging technologies on the horizon for the bee keeping
industry. The Smart Beehive Management System monitors hives to allow
them to take timely precautions in preventing the most common threats to
their colonies. It records the readings on the Cloud and will contact you if a
problem arises. The technology decreases the bee mortality rate, boosts the
revenues of beekeepers, cuts their supplies and labor costs, and improves the
efficiency of their operations. Opportunities in technology such as this could
not only prove lucrative, but also perpetuate the sustainability of bees for
o The honeybee population in the US provides not only profits from the selling
of honey, but helps increase the profitability of the entire agricultural sector.
Their pollination abilities help to increase farm income by about $8-14
billion annually. However, in the honey industry alone, sales have been
trending downward as honey production decreases. The decrease in honey
supply has lead to a drastic increase in honey prices over the past several
years. In 2006 the cost of honey per pound averaged about $2.90. In 2015
the price per pound is about $5.00. This near doubling in price has impacted
consumers on the wholesale and private label markets.
o Honey production increased by 19% from 2013 to 2014 and the average
colony produced 15% more honey during those same years. Other
agricultural industries depend on the bee industry for natural pollination
services. The honeybee is vital to crops across the globe for pollinating. If the
bee population decreases, pollination will decrease, which will eventually
lead to a decline in crops and an increase in crop prices for the final
consumer. Bee colonies are capable of sustaining themselves as long as they
are given access to the proper environment. Because of their positive
relationship with local surroundings, bee keeping and honey production is a
very sustainable industry.
o Over the years we have been involved in the pollination of alfalfa, almonds,
cranberries, cucumbers, apples, crimson clover, Dutch white clover, sweet
clover, squash, pumpkins, pears, cherries, strawberries, sunflowers, radish
seed, cabbage seed, watermelons, cantaloupe, plums and more which
exemplifies our involvement in other agricultural industries in the U.S.
Industry or Competitive Environment
o Blue Ridge Honey Company has a vast amount of competitors. These
competitors come in the form of retailers, honey makers, wax makers,
beekeepers, etc. One of these companies, Really Raw Honey, is based out of
Baltimore, Maryland. They specialize in selling raw honey but they also sell
pollen and a book titled Bee Lessons. They differentiate themselves by
focusing on selling raw honey. None of the honey they produce is ever
processed; it comes straight from the hive. Really Raw Honey is packed on-
site at the beekeepers homes and farms. When purchasing online, customers
have to keep in mind that they won’t ship in weather above 88 degrees
Fahrenheit to preserve the integrity of their honey. Customers can also
purchase a 12 pack of Really Raw Honey from Walmart’s website.
o Savannah Bee Company, based in Savannah, GA, not only offers raw honey,
but also artisanal honey and what they call everyday honey. They also sell a
wide range of other products as well including honey straws, 100% pure
beeswax candles, honey roasted coffee, and all sorts of other gifts and
merchandise. They also carry a wide variety of beauty products including:
beeswax hand cream, beeswax heel balm, beeswax lip-gloss, and honey body
wash. Among their products they also offer an online Bee Education tutorial,
to help educate in the wonder of bees. In the North Georgia area there are
several locations where you can find their honey: Out of the Blue; From Me 2
U; The Red Door; Whitmire, Carol; Rucker Horse & Pet; and Posh on Main.
Customers can also purchase directly from their website.
o Blue Ridge Honey Company also receives competition from every Walmart
location as well as Walmart’s website. In Walmart locations consumers can
find a selection of what the Savannah Bee Company calls “everyday” honey.
If a consumer is looking for a wider range of honey, all they have to do is go
to the webpage and there are several different offerings of natural and raw
honey. Unfortunately for Walmart many of those options can only be
purchased as a 12-pack container of honey.
o Not only does Blue Ridge Honey Company compete with other honey
growers and retailers but also with other beekeepers such as the Bushy
Mountain Bee Farm in North Carolina.
o The industry as a whole is experiencing a shortage of bees, leading to a
shortage of honey. Really Raw Honey had to increase their prices due to
shortages of honey, increased beekeeper wages, and increases in packing and
o According to beekeepers across the country, bees began acting strangely
since 2006. These odd behaviors include: not laying eggs, going queenless, or
inexplicably trying to make multiple queens. In that same year a beekeeper in
New York, Jim Doan, discovered that of the 5,600 hives he kept, all but 600 of
them were empty. By 2007 beekeepers across the world were finding that
their bees had not just died but vanished, which would be later known as
Colony Collapse Disorder.
o Real world business negotiations have been changing rapidly with the advent
of the computer and online Internet bidding processes. Traditionally, bulk
industrial honey contracts may have been negotiated between buyers and
suppliers over a month-long period; today they may be resolved in a 30-
minute period. With a new type of buyer in both retail packed and industrial
markets the game has a new set of rules.
o Honey producers, packers and marketers negotiate with buyers for sales and
with suppliers for equipment and input purchases. Honey buyers and
industry suppliers have bargaining power that can affect honey industry
profits. This bargaining power may include:
o Negotiating honey prices down or delaying payments,
o Having packers or producers maintain honey inventories at their own
o Increasing the quality standards for honey without increasing prices (e.g.,
demanding implementation of food safety systems like HAACP that may be
costly to implement or specifying reductions in permissible maximum
residue levels), and
o Increasing the price of input supplies (or reducing the quality of supplies).
Firm Structure and Systems
o Blue Ridge Honey Company is a family business, owned and operated by Bob
and Suzette Binnie, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Northeast Georgia.
o Bob began commercial beekeeping in 1981 in Oregon and has been involved
in commercial beekeeping in seven states. He handles all beekeeping and
sales while Suzette manages the office, website, and shipping department.
o We are small and family owned company. We value employee input and
encourage feedback. Every employee is competent and is able to play
multiple roles in the company.
o Bob Binnie is the owner and is very involved in all of the bee and honey
processes. He is a hands-on leader, role model, and is able to handle the
demanding schedule of maintaining multiple hives and has a strong
understanding of the big picture for the company. With his wife and her team
handling the logistics, he can focus on the bees and honey production itself.
o Blue Ridge Honey Company maintains a retail building in Lakemont, Georgia
along with beehives in Georgia and North Carolina. Our “Honey House” is a
large warehouse that also contains our extractor, cappings spinner, sump
tank, and other processing and bottling products where we bottle the honey
ourselves. We own many Bee hives, and other tools necessary to cultivate the
hives. We also sell their products to retailers across Georgia and the
Carolinas. Our marketing resources include a social media presence on
Facebook as well as participating in honey competitions and multiple
festivals across the southern states.
7 Marketing Strategies
o Honey is the Blue Ridge Honey Company’s largest tangible asset. Our honey
is produced locally and comes in over eight varieties, sometimes more
depending on the seasons in which the bees are producing. The honey is
then bottled and sold in the standard bear size, 16 ounce bottles, and 32
ounce bottles. They can be sold individually or by the crate.
o Beeswax can be used in making candles and beauty products. Blue Ridge
offers the wax in 1 ounce and 1 pound bars. Bees also collect pollen, which is
a great source of protein and other nutrients. The pollen can be consumed by
adding it to. This is offered a 7-ounce jar.
Bee Starter Kit
o The starter kit includes a queen bee, a hive, and the bees for the colony.
These sets are also known as nucleuses or “NUCS” for short. This encourages
local hobbyist to care for their own bees and produce their own honey.
o An intangible asset, people can learn how to handle and care for bees. They
offer classes on their bee farm on how to care for the bees and bottle/store
honey and honey products.
Blue Ridge Honey Company price our honey competitively to encourage buyers to
compare their honey to other generic and name brand honeys. The unit price of
honey has risen steadily over the past decade. In January 2006, honey was
averaging $3.88 per pound. By mid-2011 the price was averaging at $5.04 and is
now in November 2015 at $6.92.
Bob and Suzette Binnie, the founders of Blue Ridge Honey Company, started bee
keeping back in 1981. Because they have been in business for over 30 years, they
have the knowledge of the industry that allows them to optimize their honey
processing and keep their prices low.
o Honey Bear: $4.75
o 16 oz. Jar: $6.50
o 32 oz. Jar: $12.50
o Gallon Jug: $54.00
o 60 lb. Container: $235.00
o 1 oz. Bar: $2.00
o 1 lb. Bar: $12.50
o 7 oz. Jar: $9.75
Bees and Starter Kits
o Bee kits deposit $25
o Nuclear home kit deposit $35
o NUCS range from $144.00-$155.00
o Packaged Bees $99.00
We have well established relationships with retailers such as Kroger, Walmart,
Quality Foods, Piggly Wiggly, and other smaller retailers in Northern Georgia, and
limitedly in Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina. We privately distribute
through local farmer’s markets in various locations in the southeast. We also offer
shipping of our products via online to anywhere in the US and some locations
We will pursue Smart ads online, Facebook promotions, newspaper print ads,
brochures, and an email newsletter to promote our products and services. See
Implementation section for further details.
The market for honey, honey related products, and education on beekeeping can be
attractive to multiple segments of people. Often the consumers of our retail honey
products are middle class females with a family. The consumers of our products
presented at farmer’s markets are young, health conscious people who are seeking
raw honey without additives.
Our target market is specifically people in the southeastern United States who are
locally minded and are pursuing some form of health benefits from the food they
consume. Our product is desired by all ages of people. Because our products are
locally created, our product can generate relief for allergy sufferers of any age,
gender, or race who consume our products in the southeastern region.
Our raw honey is collected straight from the extractor; it is entirely unheated,
unpasteurized, unprocessed honey. This process of collecting honey makes our
honey healthier than other “commercial” honey with unhealthy additives. Therefore,
we position ourselves as a healthy, natural sweetener option for young health
conscious adults and for the aging population who seek the health benefits of raw
Market Penetration Strategy
o This strategy focuses on investing in existing customers to gain additional
usage of existing products. We will increase promotions for our existing
products through social media and other ads as well as emphasize more
heavily on our newer offerings of classes and NUCS. We will increase our
supply to existing retailers in order to increase our shelf space to gain
additional market share.
Market Development Strategy
o This strategy will allow for expansion of the firm’s product line into
untapped markets. We will attempt to secure a contract with at least five
Whole Foods stores in Georgia in the first year to enter into the organic food
stores market. We will also engage with additional stores such as Kroger to
sell our products to more of their locations.
We could boost our customer reach by expanding their social media presence. By
implementing this plan we could involve ourselves in the lives of younger
consumers who are beginning to become more aware of their health and the
importance of consuming and using organic products.
A major platform we use is our Facebook profile. This has spread word of our
company and our products to places no one thought possible and has increased the
number of consumers purchasing on the online storefront. Another social medium
that would build relationships is Instagram. Younger generations are very involved
with documenting their day to day lives and posting the pictures on Instagram. Our
Company can demonstrate business, bee keeping, honey, and other products using
the picture sharing database. With over 300 million users, this tool is a concept that
can build relationships with consumers and instill value in the products by
demonstrating the process of making the honey and other miscellaneous products.
Therefore, with the 1.19 billion active users on Facebook combined with the 300
million Instagram users, our online reach is nearly limitless. The digital age of
business is here and if companies do not adapt they will surely get left behind. Our
company is doing everything possible to expand knowledge of the social media
world, which at the same time is contributing to market expansion.
If these social media marketing techniques prevails as expected, a Twitter account
can be formed allowing for direct access and communication with customers all
over the world.
Smart Advertisements: We will create online advertisements that will run from
the months of January-March and July-September.
Local Newspapers: We will procure ad space to feature an ad with a picture, our
company name, website information, and concise list of products. We may include a
calendar of which farmers markets we will be in attendance.
Newsletter: These documents will include a calendar of farmers markets we will
attend, class schedules, and where we will send bees to help pollenate groves for
companies. These can include a brief history, tutorials, recipes with our honey,
updates on any new products, new systems or procedures in honey production, etc.
Brochure: These will include where our products are available for purchase.
Brochures will also advertise our bee classes, bee starter kits (NUCS), and include
many pictures. There will be a calendar of which farmers markets we will attend.
The brochures will be available in hotels, travel guides, welcome centers, etc.
o Online version of our Brochure will be available on our website and
Free samples: We will offer free honey sticks of our most popular honeys which
will be provided at farmers markets and will be complementary in any shipments of
our products purchased online.
Promotional Videos: These videos will include different aspects of the production
process, tutorial videos, educational videos on the benefits of honey and an inside
view on how our bees create the honey.
Facebook: We will post which farmers markets we will be attending and we will
pay $5 to appear on the pages of people who have liked our page which will allow
their friends to see our posts. We will feature videos on our page.
o We will feature a Recipe of the Month on Facebook using our honey and
Classes: We will host classes on how to care for bees for aspiring beekeepers as well
as how to extract honey from the hives they have purchased from our supply. We
will host other classes to teach them how to make homemade candles with our wax.
SEO Campaign: This will run throughout the year to maintain a prevalent online
presence on search engines.
9 Calendar for Marketing Efforts
Annual Marketing Plan Calendar Blue Ridge Honey Company
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Online ads Smart Ads Smart Ads
Mobile text ads
Print ads Local Newspaper Ads
Email newsletters opt in for emails Inform about the Bee School
Mobile QR codes
Brochure Create Brocure Reprint with updated Info Reprint Reprint- Holiday brochure
Promotional items Free samples
Video/multimedia Advertise School Video About bees Video about process holiday video
Press releases as needed about Colony Collapse Disorder around the globe or other news
Facebook Use $5 promotion updates weekly
Instagram Establish an account Post pictures in tandem with Facebook
1st Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter 4th Quarter
Annual Advertising Budget
Type of Advertising Cost Per Year Total Per Year
Online Ads (Pay-per-click) $4,500 2 $9,000
Print Ads $200 9 $1,800
Email Newsletter $4,000 1 $4,000
Brochure $2,000 4 $8,000
Video/Multimedia $25,000 1 $25,000
Press Releases $6,000 2 $12,000
Facebook $5 12 $60
Instagram $0 - $0
Website Content Optimization $0 - $0
Total Annual Budget $59,860
Newspaper print ad price is based on local newspaper rates in Georgia
Brochure pricing is based on Kinkos.com offerings
Video and multimedia production is based on a local, professional production
Facebook promotional prices are based on their available website
All other prices are based on supplemented documents
Future annual advertising budget can be adjusted based on viewed results