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Honey tastings and beekeepers: Step inside an immersive wellness lab

Inside honey specialist Comvita’s experiential Wellness Lab in Auckland, customers are invited into the lives of bees, thanks to its immersive design features that tap into the five senses.

Customers book into a sensorial 45-minute honey tasting journey, hosted by resident beekeeper and bee-breeder Noelani Waters, partnered with a custom-designed audio and visuals displayed in a 180-degree theatre room.

The Wellness Lab was created in collaboration with leading gastrophysicist and sensory science expert, Professor Charles Spence, who has previously worked with perfumers, mixologists, and chefs, including the world-renowned Heston Blumenthal.

Every element of the space has been carefully designed and sourced to reflect Comvita’s commitment to Kaitiakitanga – a Māori concept of guardianship and protection over nature.

“New Zealand’s Mānuka honey industry is a uniquely vibrant one which encapsulates many of the principles and values so important to our nation,” said Comvita’s group chief executive David Banfield.

“It enables us to tell our tale of efficacy, quality, product excellence, sustainability, and the broader principle of Kaitiakitanga, and position New Zealand as a global leader on the world stage.”

According to Comvita’s head of marketing David Bathgate, the store also exists as a direct response to the exponential growth of e-commerce seen in the last few years. 

“As consumer behaviour fundamentally changes towards the act of shopping, we know that the future of retail will be to deliver immersive, memorable experiences that cannot be found in a traditional online store,” Bathgate said. 

“The future of retail lies in the delivery of meaningful multi-channel consumer experiences, and we’re incredibly proud to be at the forefront of this movement.”

The Wellness Lab can hold eight people at a time, and costs $20 each, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to a nominated charity. 

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