Honey’s Growth in 2016

Honey embodies the perfect storm of consumer trends and stands above the rest of the spreads category in growth.

Demand for honey is soaring, especially within the spreads category.  Interest in healthier and more natural sweeteners is peaking. “After several years of gradual growth in the spreads category driven primarily by popular chocolate spreads and specialty nut butters (ie almond, sunflower), honey made its mark in 2016.” 1

Demand for honey rose rapidly in 2016. “Honey recorded the strongest volume and value growth rates of 3% and 7% in current value terms, respectively.” 1 Honey is showing up as a natural sweetener replacement in teas, snacks, and cereals. It is an instantly recognizable natural sweetener.

Honey, produced by bees in the hive, is made up of 30-40% fructose and 25-35% glucose, followed by water. 2  Reported ancient uses and folk medicine tales suggest that besides being used as a sweetener, honey may have served other purposes—perhaps due to the presence of trace amounts of phenolic and glyoxal acids, which may act as antioxidants. 3-6 The amount and type of these compounds present depends on the floral source and where the flowers are grown. 3-6

While honey experienced the most rapid growth among spreads in 2016, the rebound of spreads was also a result of the near plateau reached by nut and seed based spreads, which experienced only 1% current value growth in 2016 and comprised a 51% value share of spreads.  1

Lately, there has been unchanging consumer interest in traditional peanut butter in favor of almond and cashew butter. Convenience, health and portability appear to be category drivers. “As millennial consumers continued to favor snacking and portability over sit-down meals, spreads manufacturers continued to adjust their products accordingly in an attempt to capitalize on this trend.”  1

The continued growth of honey, which is priced significantly above many other spreads products, appears to have an upward effect on prices.


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1 Euromonitor Passport Category Briefings, March 2017
2 USDA Food Composition Database. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/
3 https://honey.com/about-honey/honey-benefits
4 Alvarez-Suarez JM, Gasparrini M, Forbes-Hernández TY, Mazzoni L, Giampieri F. The Composition and Biological Activity of Honey: A Focus on Manuka Honey. Foods. 2014. 3, 420-432.
5 Bang L.M., Buntting C., Molan P. “The effect of dilution on the rate of hydrogen peroxide production in honey and its implications for wound healing”. J Altern Complement Med. 2003. 9 (2): 267-273.
6 Majtan J, Klaudiny J, Bohova, J, Kohutova L, Dzurova M, Sediva M, Bartosova M, Majtan V. “Methylglyoxal-induced modifications of significant honeybee proteinous components in manuka honey: Possible therapeutic implications”. Fitoterapia. 2012. 83 (4): 671–677.