Island Abbey Foods Ltd. Not in Business Today—but for BioFoodTech

Island Abbey Foods Ltd.

Abbey Foods Ltd. (IAF) successfully launched its flagship brand, Honibe®, in early 2008. However, the story of this innovative company begins in the mid-1990s, when John Rowe, CEO of IAF, was hiking in Western Canada. Upon reaching his camp, Rowe discovered that a glass jar of honey he brought with him had shattered in his backpack, covering the bag and all of his clothes. His immediate thought was of the bears, and quickly thereafter, about a better way to transport honey.

Upon further research, Rowe discovered that there were no 100% pure, solid honey products on the market. A business concept was born. In 2004, Rowe moved back to PEI, and with a background in software engineering and marketing, he turned to BioFoodTech, an Innoventures Canada consortium member organization assisting Canadian companies in commercializing their research.

“We would literally not be in business today if it wasn’t for BioFoodTech. During the R&D phase of our business we worked exclusively out of BioFoodTech’s facility, and hired their technical staff to conduct our initial research.”
John Rowe, CEO, Island Abbey Foods

BioFoodTech, located in Charlottetown, PEI, provides specialized services to companies and entrepreneurs in both the food and bioprocessing sectors. IAF, along with BioFoodTech’s team of food and bioprocessing scientists, developed a proprietary manufacturing technology for gently turning raw liquid honey into the world’s only 100% pure dried honey product. It took years of research and experimenting, designing and developing custom production equipment at each step, but with help from BioFoodTech, IAF was able to take their laboratory prototype equipment into small-scale pilot production, and eventually, into full-scale commercial production.

With the ability to naturally dehydrate honey without denaturing it, keeping all of its natural properties intact, IAF has developed a whole line of all natural, speciality honey products with its patented, pure dried honey platform. Everything from Honibe® Honey Drops™, to sweeten tea or coffee, to its line of Honibe® Honey Lozenges™, throat lozenges, as well as a new platform for nutraceuticals, its Honibe® Honey Gummies™, a complete line of multivitamins and food supplements, are now available in more than 6,000 stores throughout Canada and in 30 countries worldwide.

IAF spent its first five years working out of the BioFoodTech pilot plant, moving to its own 5,000 square foot production facility in 2009. They have continued to expand and grow, roughly doubling sales each year since 2008, and currently employ more than 50 people. The company received international recognition in 2010 by winning the world’s most prestigious food award at the SIAL Paris. In 2012, IAF moved into its current facility in the PEI BioCommons Research Park, and now has over 12,000 square feet of office and production space.

IAF plans to continue to introduce innovative natural health and food products, using the Honibe® pure dried honey platform, and hope to continue their work with BioFoodTech as they expand internationally.

I have reviewed this document and release its content to Innoventures Canada and BioFoodTech for the purpose of impact reporting.

John Rowe
CEO, Island Abbey Foods

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