U.S. honey demand reached an all-time high, according to the latest Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook report published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Record-setting consumption of honey and made-with-honey products totaled 618 million pounds in 2021. The previous record was 596 million pounds in 2017.
The U.S. is the second largest consumer behind China, according to the latest data available from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in 2019. In 2021, consumption increased 8 percent from the previous year.
Between 1991-2021, the average rate of growth is 10.7 million pounds per year. This translates to about 1.9 pounds per capita in 2021 compared with 1.2 pounds per capita in the early 1990s.
The growth in demand, in part due to the growing population, has also been attributed to consumers’ association of it as a “superfood”– along with garlic, ginger and turmeric – and perception of it being a healthy sweetener.
“We are thrilled to see the results of this study,” said Margaret Lombard, CEO. “It means that consumers are beginning to understand when you choose honey you are not only getting a perfect all-natural sweetener, but you are supporting honey bees and beekeepers who help to feed the world.”
The 2021 Consumer Attitudes & Usage Study similarly shows a pattern of growth for self-reported usage since 2019. Following on annual gains in positive perceptions, U.S. consumers also reported upticks in usage this past year, echoing the results of the USDA’s study.
Consumers who selected honey as their most preferred sweetener cited attributes like natural, unprocessed and organic. Data from the survey confirms American consumers choose honey because of its health benefits, flavor and connection to bees and the environment.
The full USDA Sugar and Sweeteners report can be viewed here.
The National Honey Board is an industry-funded agriculture promotion group that works to educate consumers about the benefits and uses for honey and its products through research, marketing and promotional programs.
The board’s work, funded by an assessment on domestic and imported honey, is designed to increase the awareness and usage of honey by consumers, the foodservice industry and food manufacturers.
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