Bod Australia is buying into the manuka honey brand, hoping a bit of hemp will push its popularity even higher.

Bod (ASX:BDA) has done a deal with New Zealand honey producer Manuka Pharma to make a line of hemp-based honey.

The concept will be to add hemp seeds to manuka honey, which Bod says should add protein and essential fatty acids to the mix.

They’re not the first to do it, EVE Investments announced a similar move late last year, partnering with Medic Honey in NSW’s Northern Rivers.

Bod shares were up 4 per cent by midday, to 6.2c.

Bod’s share price surged this month after it said it would be designing and selling a cannabis wafer to be used in clinical trials, and it was on track for a Phase 1 clinical trial to test its cannabis formulation and delivery method.

Just add manuka (and hemp)

The Australian nutraceuticals company said global demand for New Zealand’s honey is estimated to be about US$2.1 billion ($2.6 billion).

‘Medical grade’ manuka products, used for wound care thanks to high levels of the antibacterial component methylglyoxal, can fetch up to $1,000/kg in some markets.

Regular honey can cost between $20-50, depending on which country you’re buying in.

How much longer for Australian ‘manuka’?

A spat has been brewing for some time between Australia and New Zealand over the name ‘manuka’, a Maori word for the Leptospermum scoparium tree. In Australia it’s known as a tea tree.

New Zealand honey makers are seeking certification rights to prevent honey that isn’t produced in New Zealand from being labelled as manuka.

Australia growers are concerned about losing the rights to use the now highly valuable Maori word to brand their product.

Bod plans to distribute the final product initially in Australia and China, through daigou sales, that is to overseas Chinese buyers sending products home.