NEW YORK—MeliBio, the world’s first food-tech company focused on creating real honey without bees, partnered with Eleven Madison Park to host an exclusive World Bee Day celebration. The high-level celebration showcased the award-winning bee-free honey at an intimate cocktail reception featuring a variety of beverages and live performance, followed by a delectable four-course lunch prepared by Eleven Madison Park chefs. Guests were treated to exclusive gift bags of MeliBio samples and a commemorative Eleven Madison Park tin featuring the event menu. Invited guests joined from around the world, including over two-dozen conservation leaders, investors, government officials, and creators.
Core to MeliBio’s focus on sustainability and building a better planet, the World Bee Day celebration featured brands and artists focused on impact, with a live jazz performance from New York-based crooner Lowell Oakley of NBC’s The Voice fame. Floral arrangements included in-season, locally-sourced plants and flowers from Starbright Floral Design, a New York-based florist specializing in sustainability and impact. All arrangements were donated after the celebration to families battling childhood cancer at the Ronald McDonald house.
“World Bee Day is the perfect occasion to reflect on the importance of bees for survival of humans and the entire Earth. We at MeliBio think of bees every single day while building the better honey industry that finally gives bees a break and helps restore the bee biodiversity”
— Darko Mandich, CEO & Co-Founder, MeliBio
For Darko Mandich, CEO and Co-founder of MeliBio, spreading awareness for World Bee Day – a day of awareness for the importance of bees and honey designated by the United Nations in 2017 – is an important act to address the climate crisis and its impact on bees. "World Bee Day is the perfect occasion to reflect on the importance of bees for survival of humans and the entire Earth. We at MeliBio think of bees every single day while building the better honey industry that finally gives bees a break and helps restore the bee biodiversity,” shared Darko. “By showcasing our first-of-its-kind award-winning honey at the three-Michelin star Eleven Madison Park in New York, we prove that animal-free honey delivers on taste, nutrition, and applications in high-end food and beverage formulations."
World Bee Day, originally created in Slovenia, is the world’s only day of awareness for bees. Currently, over 20,000 wild and native bee species are endangered due to the effects of climate change and competition from commercially farmed bees – with a staggering 90% decline in the world’s bee population in recent years. Bees are essential for the existence of humankind and provide a crucial role in our ecosystem. As a result, the honey industry is now facing a highly volatile and dwindling supply chain, giving rise to the crucial innovation of bee-free honey products like MeliBio and creating a new future of honey.
“When our team heard Darko pitch MeliBio, we were all instantly impressed - not only with his presentation skills but how he’s harnessed plant science and microbiology-based proprietary technology to help save virtually all bee species that are being pushed out of their natural habitats,” says XRC Labs Founder & Managing Director, Pano Anthos. “Sustainability-focused startups always peak our interest. We’re thrilled to now have MeliBio in our Opportunity Fund and look forward to seeing them expand in a B2B context and beyond.”
MeliBio was founded in 2020 in Berkeley, CA by Latinx scientist and amateur chef Aaron Schaller, PhD, and Serbian immigrant and honey industry executive Darko Mandich. The company’s first product, a plant-based honey ingredient for B2B and foodservice, was unveiled in October 2021 after a blind taste test of industry leaders revealed that the honey was indistinguishable from standard honey, and was previously named TIME’s Best Inventions 2021. The company aims to provide their product to food, beverage, and cosmetics companies looking to offer a sustainable and vegan product to the fast-growing demographic of plant-based, environmentally conscious, and clean-beauty consumers. The company’s total funding to date is $7.2M US dollars. MeliBio has signed over 40 letters of intent from around the world to debut bee-free honey to the world, and is currently offering a waitlist for interested parties on their website.
MeliBio, headquartered in Oakland, California, is a food tech company that is the market leader in bee-free honey. Leveraging a combination of plant science and precision fermentation to produce high quality, sustainable honey to match taste, quality, and nutrition of animal-derived counterparts, MeliBio is on a mission to create a sustainable future for bees, humans, and the planet.