Escudo de la República de Colombia

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Honey, jelly and other beekeeping products in irresistible packaging

From the traditional Aguardiente flask where honey is usually bottled in different regions of Colombia they can now pass to modern packaging for this and other beekeeping products.

Bogotá D. C., 21 de octubre de 2016Agencia de Noticias UN-

Beekeeping foods are honey, propolis, pollen, and royal jelly among others.

Estimates say there are 115,000 productive beehives in Colombia; while the potential is for close to a million.

Regular use of discarded alcoholic beverage bottles for beekeeping products is a public health issue.

Secondary carton packaging emphasized on the communicational dimension.

San Mateo beekeeping products carry the UNal and Colciencias logos, sponsors of the project.

The taste of honey changes according to the region where the beehives are located.

Alongside the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) in Bogotá Food Science and Technology Institute (ICTA, for its Spanish acronym) School of Industrial Design alumna Aura Fernanda Flechas Aguilar developed a project which hopes to increase production rates and sales of these types of products. 

This is about a collaborative design with participation of Colombian beekeepers stemming from a beekeeping food research group project counseled by Professor Marta Quicazán (former ICTA Physical-Chemical Laboratory Coordinator) and Professor Pablo Abril (former School of Industrial Design Coordinator). 

The research group is comprised by nutritionists, microbiologists, chemical engineers and food engineers. 

“Beekeeping foods are honey, propolis, pollen, and royal jelly and some which have other types of processing such as mead (alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water,)” said Flechas. 

She considers that although the technical part is covered there is still a great void with respect to the communicational element, especially among small beekeepers as they typically bottle their products in discarded alcoholic beverage flasks which is not only a public health threat but also very impractical when it comes to using the product as after time honey crystalizes and users need to heat the honey making it lose its nutritional properties. 

Another aspect Flechas considered was the fact that without regard to the source, product labels had very precarious information in essential aspects such as origin, main features or nutritional values. 

“Honey produced in different regions of the country tastes differently and this is the reason to what in the food industry is known as designation of origin. This condition includes features that identify the product according to the area where it is produced as the plants where bees feed from also vary. The project proposed was for the design to educate the consumer so it would become cognizant where the product came from and the process it took until placing it on the table,” said Flechas. 

Once they determined the municipality of San Mateo as the location to carry out the field work, Flechas carried out her project in a contextual manner. As one of the purposes was that the imagery of the packaging showed part of the cultural identity of the product, she studied what was behind making the product as well as the economic and social environmental background. 

Later she began the co-designing process where even the beekeepers had input and said how they imagined packaging and lids. 

“Once we arrived to the prototyping stage, where we provided form and dimension to the first ideas, we decided to use glass and designed secondary carton packaging materials where we tried to emphasize the communicational dimension of the product,” said Flechas. 

The designer decided to group the products under the “San Mateo” trademark and with the UNal and Colciencias logos, sponsors of the project. 

Finally they carried out a product triangulation and verification stage where they determined potential consumers. 

Although estimates say there are 115,000 productive beehives in Colombia; the potential is close to a million. 

The design of the “San Mateo” trademark will be showcased at the IV Latin American Food Design Summit which will take place in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, between this upcoming October 19 and 22.

(Por: Fin/JCMG/MLA/LOF
)
N.° 722

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