John Rowe

Founder and President of Island Abbey Foods Ltd.
(better known as Honibe Honey Bee).

John Rowe

John Rowe
Founder and President of Island Abbey Foods Ltd. (better known as Honibe Honey Bee).

Island Abbey Foods Ltd. is a family owned (John, Susan and Justin Rowe) and operated business. The company’s first product, the Honibe - Honey Drop is John’s brainchild, and he has lead its research and development since he first conceived the idea in the late 1990’s while on a camping trip in Whistler. Visit: for more details.

John Rowe has considerable experience in launching new products: over 18 years of engineering experience in product design, development and successful market rollout including 25 innovations and 500+ licensees around the world. The key to John’s success has always been the team he has surrounded himself with. The Honibe team stands at 40 full time and part time staff.

This team, under John’s direction, is responsible for Honibe’s market success to date. Some key milestones that John and his team have achieved: numerous national and international awards, prolonged media coverage in major national and international publications (Bon Appetit, Health Magazine, Canadian Living, Fancy Food, to name a few); and achieving national distribution across Canada and the USA into major and minor grocery retail within year one of launch.

John was named a Top Ten Innovator by Food In Canada in 2008, a Top Ten Worldwide Innovator in 2008 and 2009 by Springwise, and a Planet Eureka! Hot 100 Innovators in 2009. John is a recipient of the Innovation PEI Pilot Fund 2009, the Innovation PEI Discovery and Development Fund 2009, ACOA’s Atlantic Innovation Fund 2010 and 2013, the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce Emerging Business Award Winner 2010, the Premier’s Medal of Innovation Winner 2010, a Bishop’s University Top 10 After 10 Winner 2011, the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce Marketing Excellence Award Winner 2011, Progress Magazine’s Fastest Growing Company Award 2012, and Food In Canada’s Industry Leadership Award for 2013. John was also an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Nominee 2010 and 2012, a Manning Awards Nominee 2010 and 2011, and a Canadian Grocer Generation Next Finalist 2012. John has 8 worldwide patents / patents pending to his credit: 4 in food science and 4 in software technologies.

In October of 2010, John and the Honibe team won two Gold medals from SIAL, the world’s largest food show held bi-annually in Paris, for the Honey Drop product. The Honibe Honey Drop won a SIAL d’Or for Best New Product from Canada of 2010 and Best of the Sweet Grocery Category 2010. The Honibe Honey Drop was then announced as the grand prize winner of the Global Sial d’Or for the best new innovative food product in the world. Honibe was also named the 2011 Canada Brand Business Award Winner, the top food brand award, at SIAL Canada.

John’s keen entrepreneurial endeavors landed him on Dragon's Den in January 2011, securing a ‘TV deal’ for one million dollars for a unique business offer in the honey and natural health industries. Visit: to see John and his brother Justin slay the Dragons!

Recently, the Honey Drop was chosen as a winner in the Canadian Space Agency’s ‘Snacks for Space’ competition and went up to the International Space Station (ISS) in December of 2012. The Honey Drop accompanied Commander Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to lead a mission to the ISS. John is hopeful that the Astronauts on the ISS think the Honey Drop is truly out of this world!

John is very active in his community and local industry groups. A frequent volunteer and motivational speaker, John has presented for such groups as Rotary, the Young Farmers of PEI, UPEI’s School of Business, the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce, VetHealth, Farm Credit Canada’s Innovation Forum, the AGM of the Canadian Institute of Food Scientists, Health from the Land & Sea UK, Entrepreneur’s Forum, and Agriculture Canada’s Venture Capital Forum, among many others. John sits on several local industry boards and is VP of the Information Technology Association of PEI, Secretary of the Prince Edward Island Agri-Alliance, an Executive member of the Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce Business Under 40 and an Advisory Board member for UPEI’s Centre for Health and BioTech Management Research.

John graduated from Bishop’s University in 1995.