Scarlett’s Honey in Meigle, Perthshire has come a long way in the two decades since it was founded. Established in 1999 as a commercial beekeeping and honey production business, the company’s first customers were the ones they sold to directly at Perth Farmers Market. Specialising in Scottish blossom and heather honey varieties, their premium product was a hit amongst this discerning customer base and by 2003 they had built a new food grade packing plant to keep up with the demand brought on by farm shops, delis and speciality independent food halls.

By 2008 Scarlett’s Honey was stocked in most Tesco stores in Scotland, and this, coupled with a new strand to the business that saw them packing honey for other companies, generated the need for an additional 50% more space onto the packing plant.

In 2010 Andrew Scarlett was honoured to receive a Nuffield Farming Scholarship, the first ever awarded for beekeeping, which allowed him to travel around the world learning and sharing his experiences of the industry.

In 2010 Scarlett’s became a British Retail Consortium (BRC) accredited honey packer, an award which is recognised globally, and also moved into packing organic honey to the Soil Association standard. These accreditations have widened their appeal to a worldwide market. From Ethiopia to New Zealand, India to Bulgaria, Scarlett’s imports and packs hundreds of barrels for over 20 countries annually. This diversification has stood the company in good stead, and packing for third-party honey producers now makes up an increasing percentage of their business. Honey is shipped or air-freighted into the UK, whereupon it is transported to Scarlett’s by road. Once packed, the team at Scarlett’s will either ship to the next part of a product’s chain – as is the case with honey used as an ingredient – or distribute across the UK and Europe for the primary customer via pallets or boxes.

Andrew Scarlett, founder and owner at Scarlett’s Honey, is firm in his belief that it is their countryside location in eastern Perthshire that has allowed the business to grow so smoothly, with each step change managed by simply expanding from their existing base rather than incurring a move.

“For us Perthshire comes with all of the location benefits, and no downside. UK wise, we are very well positioned with great road links across the entire length of the country, guaranteeing our customers next day deliveries. We have haulage lorries coming in and out of the yard daily and even when honey is delivered into a port down South, it’s never more than a day away. For countries like Ethiopia, who airfreight rather than ship, the product is with us within 24 – 36 hours. That is invaluable to us and our customers in an industry which is increasingly ‘just in time’ and requires fast turn around.

“Where it really comes into its own though, is what we call the Perthshire experience. Honey is a natural product, and our base in the honey producing capital of Scotland lends itself to the clean, wholesome values that people associate with our products. When we invite beekeepers from Europe and further afield to visit the farm they are blown away by our surroundings. Looking onto Perthshire glens and agriculture as it happens is authentic. Taking UK buyers and overseas visitors to see any one of our 750 hives in the glens can almost guarantee seeing deer, red squirrels and Ospreys!!

“All of this contributes to building those global relationships – take a group of Italians to any number of world renown restaurants in Perthshire, or Americans out for a game of golf and they’re yours for life! In turn, that keeps Scarlett’s at the forefront of the industry world-wide.

“Yes, in essence we’re packing for our competitors; and our expertise is assisting them in becoming supermarket ready. But we’re also establishing our brand as the one to be associated with, the standard bearer for global honey.