Service of How Sweet it Is: Honey, Ever More Precious and Expensive

June 3rd, 2019

Categories: Food, Honey, Sweet


Whether or not the new tariff against Mexico causes the cost of tomatoes and avocados to increase, we’ll be paying more for honey regardless of where it’s from if we’re not already doing so according to Lucy Craymer of The Wall Street Journal. She wrote “Global honey prices are at their highest levels in years, due to a new wave of consumer demand for natural sweeteners and declining bee populations that are hampering mass production.”

In addition to a delicious topping on toast or a tea sweetner, honey is used, she reported, in commercial food and drink and in beauty products such as shampoo and moisturizer.


“Prices have climbed about 25% since 2013, while the cost of sugar has fallen around 30% over the same time frame,” she wrote. The National Honey board data reflects a nine percent increase in price for a pound of honey in just the last year. “Those prices have risen by about two-thirds in the last decade, according to a survey of more than 150 retailers nationwide by Bee Culture magazine, a publication for American beekeepers.”


Premium honeys have tipped the price scales. According to Craymer a pound jar of Manuka from New Zealand costs $26.49 at Target when its house brand, Simply Balanced organic honey, costs $6.39 for the same size.

Craymer reported that production has been “relatively” stable for the last five years but increasing production is still a challenge between increased beehive colony collapses, a disease that the Varroa mite causes, pesticides, death in winter and “The conversion of large swaths of land to industrial crop farms,” she wrote, that “has also reduced the amount of food—pollen—that is available for bees.”

Photo: iHerb

Bees can’t thrive in any old place. They need wild forage to hunt for pollen. Nearby fields of cotton, corn or soybeans won’t hack it. That’s why Catherine Wolkom takes advantage of every blossom. She owns The Humble Bee Honey Co. in Watertown, Conn. She  won’t mow dandelions which drives her landscape designer husband nuts. [I actually love the shot of yellow dandelions add to a spring lawn.] In addition to dandelions, the nectar from her bees comes from flower, vegetable garden and fruit tree pollen.

Do you substitute honey for sugar? What’s your favorite way to eat honey? Has your consumption increased? Do you try to buy local honey? Are there other foods that may be endangered so that many will no longer be able to afford and enjoy them?


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2 Responses to “Service of How Sweet it Is: Honey, Ever More Precious and Expensive”

  1. EAM Said:

    One of my favorite honeys comes from Kangaroo Island in Australia, it’s called Cap Gum honey. Yum-o! I am selective about purchasing honey and do try to buy local. I enjoyed brewing tea and putting in a dollop of honey.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I bought a cheap-0 honey from a usually reliable source for other inexpensive but excellent products and that honey had no taste at all. It was sticky, which was the only part of it that was the slightest bit reminiscent of the sweet treat.

    Kangaroo Island clearly has room on it for more than kangaroos! I’ve not seen that honey but will keep an eye out.

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