Specialty Food Magazine

Spring 2019

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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C onsumers are buzzing about honey, and producers can barely keep up with demand for the prod- uct that one honey farmer described as "caramelized sunshine." A mericans consumed about 585 million pounds of honey in 2017, which equates to approxi- mately 1.8 pounds per capita, according to a recent report from the National Honey Board, citing data from the USDA. The total volume consumed increased 50 percent from 2009 to 2017, the research found. Hyperlocal honeys are being sought for a range of benefits. BY MARK HAMSTRA Honey Hits the Sweet Spot: What Buyers Should Know Local honey, in particular, has seen an uptick in demand, as consumers have sought out local products overall and as they have gained a greater understanding of the role that bees play in their local environments. "People increasingly want to support their local community, and bees do a special, magical job in that they help pollinate all kinds of wonderful foods, and then they also produce honey," says Margaret Lombard, CEO of the NHB, which is based in Longmont, Colo. "They are these perfect little creatures that are great ambassadors for the environment." Consumer interest in natural sweeteners as an alternative to processed sugar is also helping drive increased honey con- sumption, she says. "Local honey products are sort of naturally poised for that food trend," says Lombard. Health Benefits Several health benefits have been ascribed to honey, from its use as a cough suppressant to a sleep aid to a salve for wounds. Advocates of local honey also cite its ability to alleviate some seasonal allergies and its antioxidant properties. 42 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com category education

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