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3.11 Market Outlook
Dried pollen prices in the USA range from US$5 to 13 per kg wholesale and US$11 30 per kg retail (American Bee Journal, 1993). Encapsulated pollen or pollen tablets sell vials of 50 to 100 units and retail at prices of up to US$900/kg, at least in Italy and the The bulk pollen consumer market seems to be growing in industrialized countries, but pollen tablets are still a common feature of health food stores and command an excessively high price. Encapsulation and extraction of pollen lend themselves easily to small scale manufacturing and result in safer consumer products.
Most of the buyers and large scale sellers of pollen are also honey traders. Crane (1990) however reports that a lot of commercial pollen is not bee collected, but machine-collected from certain wind pollinated plants which release very large quantities of dry pollen.
At least in industrialized countries and those with increasing numbers of health conscious consumers, pollen consumption is likely to increase further. It is difficult to see how wholesale prices of bulk pollen could drop much lower. On the other hand, there seems to be a wide market for reasonably priced, encapsulated pollen and tablets.Promotion of pollen from uncontaminated, unpolluted or even tropical forest areas may find a small consumer base in importing countries.
The high nutritional value of pollen should find special consideration in rural communities. Though not a traditional food, the ease of mixing it with other foods should facilitate acceptance. Rural hospitals could be the first to promote the use of pollen.
Figure 3.9 : Various commercial products containing bee-collected pollen in either a processed or unprocessed (from left to righ): liquid pollen extract, granola bar (musli), different coloured pollen pills and capsules and dried pollen.