Down the Procurement Pub with Manuka Honey, stupid questions, Sue Moffatt, and Journey

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We have some Manuka Honey in our store-cupboard, brought out when someone starts coughing and sneezing because of its anti-microbial action, according to our resident microbiologist (my wife). It is produced by bees whose hives are placed by flowering wild manuka bushes, which mainly grow on New Zealand’s North Island.  But now the New Zealand suppliers have put the cat amongst the ... bees(?) by pointing out that New Zealand produces some 1700 tonnes a year of the real stuff, yet sales are around 1800 tonnes a year – just in the UK alone! The estimate is that 10,000 tonnes a year globally is being passed off as genuine Manuka, but isn’t.

Oh no! Another food scandal, showing that the traceability and testing within too many of our food supply chains is really still not up to scratch, even after all the scandals. As my wife says, if your Manuka honey was surprisingly cheap, it’s probably not genuine. At least it’s unlikely to be made of horse though.


When I wrote about the benefit you could get from asking stupid questions the other day, I didn’t expect the great stories from two of our regular commentators. Here’s a sample;

“I also recall on one particular train journey home, when the train arrived at a station, asking a complete stranger the equally stupid question “is this my station”?  To which they responded “yes”, and, luckily, it was..!”

“I entered a bar through Door A but exited (albeit much later) through Door B and was completely bamboozled about my location! I phoned my good lady to ask her where I was. She replied that she didn’t know but was willing to hazard a guess. She did guess and was right! The moral being “Stupid questions often give you the best answer!

You have to be impressed by the intellect of our senior procurement community, don’t you!


 Congratulations to Sue Moffatt, who was recently appointed to run the new National Procurement Centre for Wales, which will lead public sector procurement efforts in that country, building on the work of Value Wales.  I’ve known her since her time at the Home Office, and she was then Procurement Director at the National Police Improvement Agency for pretty much all of its life.

Sue has a direct style, takes no prisoners (useful when you’re working with the police) and is both smart commercially and someone who delivers.   She and her partner are also serious rock music fans, and she runs (or certainly did run when I worked with her) the UK branch of the Journey fan club, so in honour of her new role, here they are with the classic hit. Good luck to her in Wales!

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