Shoppers shocked by scene on Coles shelf: 'This is what we've come to'

There may be more to the 'ridiculous' sight of honey in a security box than people think.

A baffled Coles customer did a "double take" when coming across shockingly expensive honey packed in protective casing on a shelf.

Videoing the Capilano Manuka Honey on special for $26 down from $30, the man believed to be from Victoria questioned "what we've come to as a country".

"The honey is in a protective container," he said on TikTok. "I mean you charge $30 for a packet of honey, what do you expect."

Two photos of Capilano Manuka honey in a Coles in Victoria, in protective casing.
A baffled customer believed to be in a Coles store in Victoria came across Manuka honey being sold for $26 on special and in a protective container. Source: TikTok/theozlanderreturns

Coles has confirmed the container is for security purposes to deter stealing. "While the majority of our customers do the right thing, from time-to-time individual stores make decisions to put additional security measures in place for some high-value products, such as Manuka honey," a spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.

"If a customer wishes to purchase the item, it’s as simple as getting the encasing removed at the checkout."

Aussies react to price and locked container

Since being posted on Tuesday, the video has been viewed more than 200,000 times, leaving Australians shocked by the bizarre scene at Coles.

"I don't know what's more ridiculous, it being in the safe thing or it being $26 on special," one person said,

"This is why I buy from the farmer/beekeeper. Jesus Christ that's insane," another said.

"Wodonga Coles [in Victoria] has it, I didn't know what the f**k was happening," another said.

Why is Manuka Honey so expensive?

Many questioned why Manuka honey is overall "worth so much", which is only native to Australia and New Zealand.

"Farming Manuka honey costs more to produce than other honeys," Australia's Manuka Bioactive Honey says on their website. "The quality and quantity of Manuka honey harvested is also influenced by seasonal weather variations and fires.

A photo of beekeepers in Queensland harvesting honey. Source: Getty
Beekeepers in Queensland harvesting honey. Source: Getty

"If there are floods, fires and drought conditions, bees and forests are affected and beekeepers may not be able to produce Manuka honey which can affect the supply and price of honey."

"Manuka honey is amazing though, I can see why people would be stealing it," one person said in the comments. "It's Manuka, thats a very fair price," another said.

'Bee crisis' affecting prices

On top of that, thousands of hives have been culled since Varroa mite — a parasite of honey bees — was detected in NSW last year, which still hasn't been contained. The spread of Varroa mite through hives is expected to be fast over long distances due to bees migrating.

Given that nearly two thirds of Australia's agriculture production is dependent on honey bee pollination, the mite outbreak could therefore increase costs for beekeepers and the cost of grocery prices, CSIRO research scientist Dr John Roberts said to the Sydney Morning Herald.

"We are in a bee crisis so that's why Manuka honey is $30," one person commented on the TikTok video. "Thankful for my bee hives at this point," another said.

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