- Honey consumption has increased to 0.9 pounds per person annually, compared to 0.5 pounds per person in 1990, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- The industry has successfully reached out to consumers with the message that honey is a pure natural sweetener, appealing to preferences for clean labels, said Margaret Lombard, CEO, National Honey Board, in a statement.
- With a growth in popularity, honey tasting events are taking place throughout the country, highlighting more than 300 unique types of honey, which feature ingredients such as clover and orange blossoms.
Even as the industry deals with the loss of hives, honey increasingly appeals to consumers looking for alternatives to caloric sweeteners. The use of honey in artisan products is on the rise, appearing in foods and beverages such as ice creams, craft beers, cheeses and cocktails.
Honey has even found a place in cannabis-infused edibles. Mountain Medicine was one of the first cannabis companies to attract a mainstream ingredient manufacturer, Highland Bees Inc. of Longmont, Colorado, to co-brand a line of products including honey sticks, sesame honey bites, honey fruit leathers (similar to fruit roll-ups), and a coffee drink.
At the recent Fancy Foods show, the sweet heat food trend made a splash in the maple and honey space; Mike’s Hot Honey, in particular, is a leader in the area. "There is a lot more license for manufacturers to get inventive with savory sweet chiles and different kinds of spices," Kara Nielsen, a member of the Specialty Food Association’s trend spotter panel at the Fancy Foods show, said in an interview with Food Dive.