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US honey consumption hits record highs as domestic production steadily drops, USDA report

By Elaine Watson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Image credit: GettyImages-shutter_m
Image credit: GettyImages-shutter_m

Related tags: Honey, Sweeteners

US honey consumption reached record highs last year while domestic production dropped to its lowest since 1991, primarily due to lower yield per colony, according to USDA’s latest sugars and sweeteners outlook report, which notes that imports have surged to fill the supply deficit.

According to the report​, produced by USDA’s economic research service, the US is the second largest honey consumer behind China, with consumption reaching 618mlbs in 2021, an 8% increase vs 2020, translating to about 1.9lbs per capita in 2021 vs 1.2lbs in the early 1990s.

Domestic honey production, meanwhile, fell 14% in 2021 (vs 2020) to 126mlbs, with average production per hive falling from 55lbs to 47lbs, said USDA, noting that “widespread drought in key honeybee foraging grounds reduced floral resources available to make honey."

Many commercial beekeepers have also shifted their focus “towards providing pollination services for revenue, particularly for almonds​,” which contributed to the trend of lower output per hive, said USDA.

As a result, the US has been stepping up imports, with the vast majority of inbound honey coming from India, Vietnam, Argentina, and Brazil.

Read the full report HERE​.

US honey chart USDA
Source: Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook: June 2022, USDA, Economic Research Service
US honey consumption USDA chart 2022
Source: Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook: June 2022, USDA, Economic Research Service
Hiney bee colonies and yields

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