According to the USDA’s honey report, honey consumption and honey products met a record high with 618 million pounds in 2021 (compared to the 2017 record of 596 million pounds). Key growth drivers are attributed to a growing population of health conscious consumers and honey’s perception as a natural and healthy superfood and its connection to honeybees and the environment. Its rich history across civilizations can also be attributed to its consistent use in food and medicine, dating back 8,000 years.
Based on findings from the 2021 National Honey Board Consumer Attitudes & Usage Study found that “consumers who selected honey as their most preferred sweetener cited attributes like 'natural,' 'unprocessed,' 'good for the environment,' 'organic,' 'good source of antioxidants,' and 'flavorful.’”
Honey was prominently shown throughout the show floor on its own in novel and familiar flavors and textures, and incorporated into a wide variety of applications from snacks, beverages and condiments.
Wellness and convenience in a tea bag
Most notably, Maury’s Hive Tea showcased a blend of wellness and convenience with its honey-infused black and green tea bags. Owner, Maury Pittman who is also a personal trainer, found an opportunity to create a tea using granulated honey.
“I’m a personal trainer so I’ve always touted [tea] for my clients,” he explained to FoodNavigator-USA.
Pittman initially began selling 500 bags per week for a dollar each at local gyms, which later evolved into retail at Home Goods across the US.
“We have a strong online presence, including mom-and-pop stores. But we’re still growing. We’re currently talking with airlines,” with hopes to reach larger retail chains, Pittman said.
Unique flavors in whipped, unfiltered and raw honey formats
Savannah Bee Company featured its glass jars of honey which were differentiated by usage occasions. Honey for Cheese, Honey for Coffee and Honey for Tea were among its honey products at the show, along with a wide range of flavors from orange blossom, saw palmetto, sunflower to hot honey with scotch bonnet and habanero.
Hive to Table Honey Farms is comprised of four different brands with individual brand strategies: Kelley’s Local Texas Raw and Unfiltered Honey, Jamie’s Hive to Table, Fischer’s Clover Honey and Ziegler’s. The parent company owns its own bee hives in the US, producing raw and unfiltered honey.
Unpasteurized, unfiltered honey and honey combs also offer nutritional compounds attractive to health-conscious consumers, including probiotics, pollens and propolis to support the immune system. Most notable, Hive to Table Honey’s honeycomb brand, Jamie’s Hive to Table features a honeycomb into a squeezable bottle and honey infusions with flavors like lemon, vanilla bean, cinnamon and sea salt.
Honey Blossom featured its Hot Honey and its Hot Honey Ketchup made from chili peppers and vinegar at the show. With an assortment of raw, organic and flavored honey, Honey Blossom also offers a wide range of private label packaging and design options using Certified Organic and non-GMO honey.
New York-based Honey Gramz featured a variety of honey formats from infused creamed honey to monofloral raw honey from different regions around the state and country. Flavors like blueberry, blackberry, carrot, chestnut tree, cranberry and fireweed are hand-filled in seasonal batches. Its Creamed Honey line displays “superfood” on the label and includes flavors like Chocolate Pomegranate, Smokin’ Hot and Golden Milk Honey.