What drives consumer interest in honey products? (2023)

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The health benefits associated with honey consumption are well defined in the literature, but what drives consumers to consume honey is not yet fully understood. To understand what drives consumers to purchase honey, researchers from the University of Turin in Italy conducted a study on Italian consumers, offering insights into consumer behaviours from an econometric perspective (DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-09-2021-0992).

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Researchers distributed a survey to consumers in Northern Italy face-to-face to discover more about consumer drivers to consume honey for its health benefits. Researchers divided the cohorts based on age: Millennials, Gen X, and an ‘Older Gen’ cohort that combined Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation. The average time per interview was about 10 minutes, with data collection between the end and beginning of 2018 and 2019, respectively. A total of 640 interviews were completed.

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The results showed that approximately 66% of consumers consume honey for its health benefits, showing a strong interest in honey's functional properties. Honey consumption for its health benefits increases as age and body mass index (BMI) each increase. Researchers further noted "younger consumers show a greater propensity towards honey consumption for health purposes.” Further, consumers with lower BMI values have a higher interest in the nutraceutical properties of honey.

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Researchers found women are more likely to purchase honey for its functional effects compared to male consumers. Retail size also seems to attract different consumers, with those buying honey products from larger retailers, e.g., supermarkets, being less interested in its functional and health benefits. Interestingly, researchers shared that "people who habitually attend farmers' markets consume honey more often because of its properties."

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Other factors influencing consumers' purchase behaviours toward honey include colour, and organic certification. Researchers found "organic certifications" positively impact consumers' purchasing decisions. "Indeed, quality labels and GIs labels (with their specific quality and traceability requirements) are increasing their importance in the eye of honey consumers," researchers added.

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The current study was limited by origin and sample size, focusing only on consumers from Northern Italy. Nevertheless, brand owners and producers can thrive for the best market positioning by understanding better consumer drivers.

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Why do consumers buy honey? ›

Most participants (57%) consume honey because it is a healthy (65%) or tasty (35%) product. Those who avoid consuming it (43%) justify such choice by their lack of habit (51.2%) or because they do not like the taste (30.2%). Interestingly, 35% of consumers said they had never actually bought honey.

What is an example as a consumer that makes honey? ›

Honeybee is a consumer because it consumes nectars from the plants. It cannot manufacture its own food like plants.

Who are the customers of honey? ›

Researchers found women are more likely to purchase honey for its functional effects compared to male consumers. Retail size also seems to attract different consumers, with those buying honey products from larger retailers, e.g., supermarkets, being less interested in its functional and health benefits.

Are honey bees producers or consumers? ›

They aren't only honey producers, they are also consumers, and pretty sophisticated ones at that. Offer a sick bee different varieties of honey, for example, and it will choose the one that best fights off its infection.

Who is the biggest consumer of honey? ›

Additionally, India's imports are almost negligible at US$ 1.9 million in 2019. Major export destination of Indian honey are USA, Saudi Arabia and UAE.
Top consumers of honey in the world.
RankCountryDaily grams of honey consumed per capita
1Central African Republic9.62
2New Zealand5.55
6 more rows
Aug 29, 2020

Why do people prefer honey over sugar? ›

"Honey's advantages over sugar include a slightly lower glycemic index (i.e. it doesn't affect your blood-sugar levels as much)," Dr. Dixon says. "It also contains more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, such as calcium, potassium, vitamin C, zinc, phenolic acids, and flavonoids."

Are honey bees primary consumers? ›

We focused on feeding preferences of young adult workers because these bees are overwhelmingly the primary consumers and redistributors of pollen resources for the colony [3,12–16,32,33].

What type of product is honey? ›

"Honey is the natural sweet substance produced by honeybees from the nectar of blossoms or from the secretion of living parts of plants or excretions of plant sucking insects on the living parts of plants, which honeybees collect, transform and combine with specific substances of their own, store and leave in the honey ...

Why do we like honey? ›

It gives you energy

Approximately 15grams of carbohydrates and 60 calories per teaspoon, honey is a fantastic source of energy, and used on combination with other food groups - protein, fruit, veg etc - it can be a great boost to your daily energy levels.

How does honey help the economy? ›

Honey bees enable the production of at least 90 commercially grown crops in North America. Globally, 87 of the leading 115 food crops evaluated are dependent on animal pollinators, contributing 35% of global food production.

Does buying honey help the bee population? ›

Because honey is profitable, the honey industry has created the misconception that stealing honeybees' food source somehow benefits them. In reality, the honey industry harms not only the honeybees, but also other species of bees and pollinators.

Is there a demand for honey? ›


The global honey market size was valued at USD 8.17 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow from USD 8.53 billion in 2022 to USD 12.69 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 5.83% during the forecast period.


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