MARKET RESEARCH

Market Research Overview

The summaries below are intended to highlight several of the key findings from market research studies conducted or funded by the National Honey Board.


Datassential Menu Tracking Report - 2023

The Datassential 2023 State of the Menu report for the National Honey Board shows very positive trends for honey across the foodservice industry. Honey maintains its high menu penetration, present on roughly six-in-ten menus. Though honey is seen most often at casual and fine-dining concepts, growth is expected across all sectors over the next four years. Since 2018, honey menu incidence has grown an incredible 26%, this is in part due to the sweet and spicy (swicey) flavor craze, with fried chicken sandwiches, boneless wings, and chicken and waffles becoming the fastest-growing dishes.

Some key findings include:

  • +26% menu incidence growth since 2018. Positive projected growth for all segments.
  • There is an opportunity to diversify how honey shows up on the menu; 50% of the time it shows up in entrees, and the other 50% is split among other menu parts (apps, sides, beverages, etc.) There’s ample room to grow our penetration in these other areas. LUNCH is also a major area of opportunity.
  • Honey is most prominent in the fine dining segment, but positive growth is predicted for ALL segments – with QSRs in the lead.

Click here to download the full 2023 report.


Attitudes & Usage Study - 2023

The National Honey Board is committed to designing and conducting research that enables the industry to identify opportunities and make informed decisions to increase demand for honey.

The 2023 Attitudes and Usage study was conducted with the following objectives:

  • Track awareness, self-reported usage, and attitudes and perceptions of honey and other sweeteners among a general population sample and target audience, Goodness Seekers
  • Assessing emerging issues including domestic supply constraints and future competition from synthetics

This was an online survey among 2,265 U.S. consumers, with basic demographics balanced to U.S. census.

Some key findings include:

  • Honey continues to enjoy stable, positive associations even as it faces ongoing competition from other sweeteners
  • Underneath honey’s perceived versatility, selected occasions support volume growth opportunities
  • Price is currently a more important consideration when shopping, but not at the expense of other honey priorities
  • Most shoppers are aware of declining bee populations and express a desire to help promote bee-friendly causes

Click here to download the full NHB A&U Study 2023 report.


Nielsen Category Review - 2022

This 2022 Nielsen Category Review looks at the honey category in the retail space. A few key findings include:

  • Honey sales reach $920 Million
    • The category sees strong double digit dollar growth in the latest year
  • Honey average unit price grew by 15.3%
  • 12oz honey is most popular; leads in both $ and unit share
  • Bottles outperform all other pack shapes
    • Plastic continues to lead material type
  • Honey grows fastest compared to competitive categories
  • Honey volume sales peak in January and remain relatively consistent through the summer months

Click here to download the full Nielsen Category Review report.


Attitudes & Usage Study – 2022

This study tracks awareness, self-reported usage, and perceptions of honey and other sweeteners. This year, the study showed that the health benefits and appeal of honey remain important, with honey messages focused on antioxidants and nutrients, followed by bee health, to be the most motivating to consumers.

Click here to download the full NHB A&U Study 2022 report.


Innova New Product Introductions – 2022

As the world’s biggest food industry database, Innova monitors 78 major markets and reports on trends and tracks introductions of new products. In this year’s study for NHB, Innova reports that total new product introductions in the US have stabilized after declining during the pandemic. And while the number of new products containing honey have not quite rebounded in all categories, the numbers have increased for alcoholic beverage and bakery product introductions by 13% and 22% respectively.

Click here to download the full 2022 New Product Introductions report.


Datassential Menu Tracking Report – 2022

Datassential’s 2022 Menu Tracker study for the National Honey Board shows some very positive trends for honey across the restaurant industry. The data shows that honey is present on roughly six-in-ten menus, showing up more on casual and fine dining menus because of the way the flavor can play into cocktail beverages. Honey’s incidence on menus is up 26% this year, indicating that honey has seen a huge uptick in the number of honey dishes on a menu. In 2022, honey has benefited from the hot honey flavor craze, with fried chicken sandwiches and boneless wings with honey flavorings among the fastest-growing dishes.

Click here to download the 2022 Datassential Menu Tracking report.


Nielsen Category Review - 2021

This 2021 Nielsen Category Review looks at how the honey category is performing in the retail space one year after the pandemic spike of 2020.

Areas featured include:

  • Changes in the category by pounds and dollars at retail
  • Branded vs. private label honey
  • Household penetration and buying rate
  • Purchase frequency and purchase size
  • Retail outlets (grocery, club stores, etc.)
  • Regional market growth
  • Container preference among consumers
  • Honey buyer household demographics

Click here to download the full Nielsen Category Review report.


Attitudes & Usage Study – 2021

The National Honey Board is committed to designing and conducting research that enables the industry to identify opportunities and make informed decisions to increase demand for honey.

The 2021 Attitudes and Usage study was conducted with the following objectives:

Track attitudes, awareness, and usage of honey among a general population sample and target audience, Goodness Seekers

  • Assess potential impact of specific honey messages – ‘Good for you, good for the planet’

This was an online survey among 2,000 U.S. consumers, with basic demographics balanced to U.S. census.

Some key findings include:

  • Honey usage experienced significant increases with heavy users increasing by +6 points (Gen Pop) and +13 points (Goodness Seekers).
  •  The percentage of consumers who say they will buy a product with honey regardless of price has increased for both Gen Pop (+4 points) and Goodness Seekers (+9 points)
  • Honey is by far the most preferred sweetener among Goodness Seekers, but lost its first place standing to granulated sugar among the Gen Pop
  • Honey gained significantly on positive perceptions compared to maple syrup
  • The most motivating messages for increased honey consumption are split between antioxidants and bee health, showing the need for both health and planet pillars
  • Making headway on honey’s positive connection to bee health, but there is still opportunity to educate, especially among the Gen Pop
  • Top-of-mind awareness is still noted as the #1 barrier to increasing honey consumption

Click here to download the full NHB A&U Study 2021 report.


Innova New Product Introductions – 2021

The New Products report was conducted to baseline and identify new product launches in the US from January to December 2020 to inform and inspire future honey growth strategies, specifically within the categories of cereal, bakery, spreads, sweeteners, alcoholic beverages, sauces and seasonings, and cold beverages.

This report includes the following core honey derivatives (among other nuance forms not listed, within specific categories):

  • Honey Flavor
  • Natural Honey Flavor
  • Pure Honey

Key findings include:

  • Total new product introductions in the U.S. experienced a decline in growth from 2019 (-8%) largely attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. All key categories experienced declines in new product introduction expect alcoholic beverages and cold drinks.
  • New honey product introductions also experienced a significant decrease in growth (-24%).
  • Honey represents 3.2% share of all food introductions, down from 3.9% in 2019.
  • Across key categories, honey experienced larger decreased compared to the category in all focus categories except snacks.
  • The competition from alternative sugars is getting even stronger, where most traditional sweeteners experienced declines across our key categories.
    • Similar to last year, granulated/cane sugars still dominate introductions in most categories, however, we continue to see Stevia, Monk Fruit, Coconut Sugar, Agave, and Maple Syrup growing at a significant pace and gaining share.
      • Further, emerging sweeteners, like Erythritol are seeing growth.

​​​​​​Click here to download the full 2021 New Product Introductions report.


Datassentials Menu Tracking Report – 2021

The 2021 Menu Tracking Study was conducted with the objective of understanding how honey is being used in the foodservice industry and to track honey inclusions on menus within key operators and categories.

This study utilized MenuTrends which offers access to over 100,000 distinct US menus and quantitative analysis of more than 1.1 million hand-coded items. The databases cover all types of menus – chains, independents, food trucks, and non-commercial. In addition, the study analyzed the US Chains and Independents database which tracks 4,800 restaurants, balanced to the U.S. restaurant census by segment, region, and cuisine type. It also captures both ethnic and non-ethnic restaurants with 25 different cuisine types.

Key findings include:

  • Due to the pandemic honey fell slightly in menu mentions in 2021, however it is still considered a ubiquitous flavor found on 59% of menus.
  • Honey has the strongest presence at casual and fine dining restaurants. In the past decade, honey has experienced growth in all segments.
  • Honey is much more likely to be featured in food (specifically entrées) rather than beverages. Non-alcoholic beverage is the only menu part that has experienced growth with honey mentions in the last year.
  • Honey is one of the only sauces to experience growth over the last 4 years.

Click here to download the 2021 Datassential Menu Tracking Report.