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January 18, 2011
For immediate release

John Rowe of Island Abbey Foods awarded Premier's Medal for Innovation


John Rowe, president of Island Abbey Foods, has been awarded the Premier’s Medal for Innovation, in recognition of his success in developing honey-based products, Premier Robert Ghiz says.

Mr. Rowe was presented with the medal at an award ceremony held at the Rodd Charlottetown. Under his leadership, Island Abbey Foods has become an internationally recognized company for its production of the Honey DropTM, Honey DelightsTM, Honey SprinklesTM, Honey Lozenge TM and has won a recent SIAL d’Or award for the world’s best new food product in 2010.

“John Rowe is a true Island innovator with a track record of commercializing products right here in Prince Edward Island,” said Premier Ghiz. “I am pleased to recognize John’s success and I hope we see much more of Island Abbey’s products in stores around the globe.”

Island Abbey Foods is the first company in the world to develop technology to solidify honey. Over the past year, Island Abbey Foods has successfully launched the Honey Lozenge TM, implemented a collaborative deal with Dutch Gold Honey to distribute Honibe products throughout the United States, won the SIAL d’Or award and is appearing on CBC’s The Dragons’ Den.

Through the Premier’s Medal for Innovation program, Island Abbey Foods is eligible to receive $400,000 over the next two years to continue to develop pure honey-based products under the Honibe brand. The company will be working with the National Research Council’s Institute for Nutrisciences and Health and the Food Technology Centre to evaluate pure dried honey as a release agent for natural health products and pharmaceuticals. Island Abbey has already had success incorporating natural products such as menthol and eucalyptus into its honey-based lozenge.

“I am very excited to receive this award,” said John Rowe. “It is a busy time for Island Abbey; we are currently shipping our products to over eight countries and I am eagerly anticipating our television debut on The Dragons’ Den which airs on January 19 on CBC.”

“John Rowe has proven to be one of Prince Edward Island’s strongest and most influential entrepreneurs,” said Innovation and Advanced Learning Minister Allan Campbell. “I want to congratulate John for receiving this award and wish him success in developing additional honey products within Island Abbey Foods.”

This is the second award for the Premier’s Medal for Innovation since the Island Prosperity Strategy was released in 2008. Last year’s award went to Dr. Russ Kerr of Nautilus Biosciences Canada for his work in the development of natural products derived from marine organisms for use in anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer treatments.

For more information on Island Abbey Foods or the Honibe line of products, please visit


Island Abbey Foods Ltd. is a family owned (John L. and Susan Rowe) and managed specialty honey producer and processor based in Charlottetown, PEI. For over a decade, Island Abbey Foods’ mission has been to produce innovative food and natural health products from Prince Edward Island agricultural produce and to build premium product brands to match the look, feel and taste of those products.

Island Abbey Foods Ltd. has been in research and development of proprietary production methods for dehydration of pure honey for the past decade. Working with the PEI Food Technology Centre since 2004, these methods were refined in lab scale, pilot plant scale and subsequent full scale commercial production of its products. In 2009, the company moved into its first manufacturing facility in Charlottetown which has accommodated full scale commercial production to fulfill existing and future market demand as well as the establishment of an in-house laboratory for product testing and development.

John Rowe has been focused on innovation of Island primary sector produce which can be value-added, realizing the best possible return for the company, its suppliers and the local economy. Research and development has been conducted in the Island Abbey labs as well as in a partnership with food scientists, engineers and lab technologists within the Food Technology Centre. Island Abbey Foods currently employs 20 full-time employees and a further 5 to 10 part-time production staff.

John Rowe is also the President of the Timeless Group of Companies (Timeless Technologies, Timeless Medical Systems and Timeless Professional Services). Timeless has been developing software products and IT systems on PEI since 1994. John is responsible for overseeing the management of the companies, all product development as well as the many custom engineering projects the company works on.

Media Contact: Ron Ryder