Darko Mandich

Interview with Darko Mandich from Melibio

Melibio is the world’s first honey bee-free company. They believe that the future of food and nutrition relies on sustainable and scalable production of food that does not disadvantage the animals we need to save.

Honey is one of the most powerful super-ingredients ever to exist in nature. However, honey production in its current form poses a serious threat to bees and their ecosystems, especially to the 20,000 wild and native species of bees that suffer enormous pressure from commercial beekeeping.
We enjoyed interviewing Darko Mandich, the CEO of Melibio, the world’s first bee-free honey company. 

In Melibio, they believe that the future of food and nutrition relies on sustainable and scalable production of food that does not disadvantage the animals we need to save. In this way, they were able to replace the bees’ job in the production of honey creating the first world bee-free honey (which actually tastes like honey!).

Darko Mandich will attend this year’s  Future FoodTech event on March 24-25 in San Francisco. This event has become the annual meeting place for the global food-tech ecosystem. Food brands, active investors, start-ups, and technology leaders come together to exchange insights, be inspired, and identify future partners. You will have the possibility to join in person or online as it is a hybrid summit. Use our exclusive code EA10 to save 10% off a delegate pass.

Please explain to us in more depth, what technologies Melibio uses to create honey without bees.

As Melibio is the world’s first company to work on the scientific approach of making real honey without bees, we developed our own proprietary technology to create our product. Our technology consists mainly of two parts:

Firstly, we learned how to interact with plants in a way that would allow us to properly access them and obtain the true power of honey. Not many people know, but the true power of honey comes directly from plants, honeybees are just processors, and here is where our technology plays its role. 

The second arm of our technology is bio-fermentation, fermentation being one of the oldest methods of making and preserving foods. This modern version of bio-fermentation enables us to efficiently scale our production of honey, replacing bees’ jobs, while utilizing the same properties of plants that we’ve discovered during the first stage of the process.

Melibio is leveraging plant-based bio-fermentation to replace bees in the honey-making process, creating a product that is bio-identical to the one that bees make.

Does Melibio have the same nutritional value and properties as traditional honey? 

At Melibio, we deliver the same quality product that our customers expect when they buy honey, just without the cruelty to bees during the production process. The majority of people consume honey for its amazing taste and health benefits that have been proven, including the high level of antioxidants it contains.
Therefore, Melibio’s origins, coming from the same plant-based ingredients found in honey, not only replicates the taste but also the nutritional value of honey, barring a few things we discovered in our research about honey that were not entirely accurate in its formulation.

For instance, Bacteria Clostridium, which is a natural property of honey to contain, can cause botulism, which is why honey isn’t fed to infants. In the process of making our honey, we removed this bacteria, making it safe to include in infants’ formulations and diets.
Likewise, Melibio’s honey won’t cause allergic reactions in people allergic to pollen since it doesn’t contain the allergenic molecules that cause the allergy.
We intend to match the nutrition minus two things that we feel are not perfect with honey.

Who is Melibio’s target? Vegans or anybody that likes honey? 

First of all, I am vegan myself, I became vegan because of bees. But from a business perspective, I definitely understand that not everyone is vegan nor wants to be.
We are not trying to make a vegan honey company just for vegans; we are trying to become the leading honey company of the future honey industry. Everybody is invited to participate, we want honey lovers to say that our product is the most delicious and nutritious honey they’ve ever consumed, and by accident, it comes to be a bee-free vegan option. 

Together, by using science to create a nutritional and delicious product, we can save the bees, which means saving the planet. Without our bees, our planet would be empty like Mars…

What impact do you expect to have on the honey industry? 

In my previous career working in the traditional honey industry for eight years, I had the opportunity to meet thousands of beekeepers across Europe and have conversations with them. I recognize that it is difficult to accept the fact that the industry you have been working in is no longer sustainable. However, I think that by having conversations together and understanding each other, Melibio can help many industries that do incorporate bees in their processes to evolve in a better way. 

We as a company are always open for dialogue. We aim to inspire everyone to think about the future of the honey industry to be animal-free, and we are willing to lead that dialogue. This industry needs more than just one company to make a change, it needs the participation of many other companies within the honey industry, to be able to keep our little creatures alive. We are looking forward to competing on a good goal, using technology in an effective way.

Talk to us about the recent awards, mentions, or exciting news Melibio has had.

The award that we are actually looking for is to change the honey industry and see the bees thriving. In the meantime, getting recognition to be named as Times Best Inventions 2021 or getting Just Foods Excellence Award in Innovation, is a great token of appreciation towards our hard-working team. 

But we know that THE award that we are looking for is a better world, where people consume delicious and nutritious honey where bees are alive. However, is nice to see that our team is already been appreciated by some of the leading stakeholders in the world and in the media space. 

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