Rice in the mānuka honey jars and empty pottles of oysters are two ways various New World stores are combatting shoplifters.

Customers are then sold the real thing at the checkout.

Shoppers at a Hamilton's New World Rototuna were shocked to find jars of Happy Valley mānuka honey filled with rice sitting on the shelves this week.

The honey retails anywhere from between $28 to more than $30 and appears to be a favourite for thieves.


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Many on the community Facebook page were surprised, while others were just as shocked at the price of the honey.

"Honey is like gold #beesarelife," one wrote. Another said, "I was wondering why that honey looked so weird lol!" and "Saw that and I'm like where is the honey??"

Another local wrote "So sad this has to happen bcos [sic] of shoplifters".

One man wrote "$28 a bottle, who is robbing who?"

Antoinette Laird of Foodstuffs NZ confirmed that "sadly" the policy was in place "in a number of our stores".

"The cost of honey theft to our stores, each of which is individually owned and operated, is significant enough to warrant the move. Similar decisions are made from time to time for other high value items like oysters, for example 'Bluffies' in season.

"New Zealand honey is renowned for its quality, hence its appeal to customers, and occasionally thieves. Theft of any kind is not tolerated at all."


Like other retailers, the stores had in place many measures to combat shoplifting which included security tagging high risk or targeted products, putting less stock on the shelf, increased security including CCTV and plain clothes staff, theft reporting to police, extra training for staff, sharing of theft information in accordance with the Privacy Act and trespass orders.