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.


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.


Nielsen Category Review - 2020

This 2020 Nielsen Category Review looks at the honey category in the retail space. Areas featured include:

  • Growth of honey 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.


Use & Attitude Study - 2020

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 2020 Attitudes and Usage study was conducted with the following objectives:

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

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

Some key findings include:

  • Top of mind awareness had moderate declines for all sweeteners, including honey vs year ago (influenced by wording change).
  • However, usage has increase, by ~ 10% points for all sweeteners including honey vs 2019.
  • Perceptions for honey remain strong, only health perceptions increased vs year ago.
  • The number one preferred sweetener is honey, beating out white sugar for the first time in five years.
  • The morning occasion remains strong ~ 50% of occasions.
  • Most honey purchases are planned driven by pantry refill, recipe needs. At the shelf consumers are influence by brand trust, price and honey claims as drivers of choice.
  • Positive story recall is up YOY and negative story recall declined. Positive news is driven by perceived “better for you” sweeteners.
  • New target, Goodness Seekers, identify honey as their favorite sweetener, 2:1 vs white granulated sugar.
  • The Goodness Seeker is more sensitive to sustainability concerns, and more likely to understand honey consumption is good for the bees.

Click here to download the full NHB A&U Study 2020 report.


Innova New Product Introductions – 2020

The New Products report was conducted to baseline and identify new product launches in the US from January to December 2019 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 slight increase in growth from 2018 (+3%)
  • While new honey product introductions also experienced an increase in growth (+5% pts), outpacing total food growth.
  • Honey still represents 3.9% share of all food introductions, flat from 2018.
  • We see a lot of innovation progress in key categories essential to honey, such as bakery, sauces, alcoholic beverages (each 8-9% of all New Product introductions).
    • However, new products with honey are down year-over-year in many these categories, except sauces & seasonings and alcoholic beverages.
  • Although granulated/cane sugars still dominate introductions in most categories, we are seeing Stevia, Monk Fruit, Coconut Sugar, Agave and Maple Syrup growing at a significant pace and gaining share.
    • This is happening in traditional categories like cereal and bakery, and we even saw monk fruit overtake honey introductions in cold beverages, showing it is a true competitor, not just an emerging threat.

​​​​​​Click here to download the full 2020 New Product Introductions report.


Datassentials Menu Tracking Report – 2020

The 2020 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:

  • Honey is found on 61% of menus and is projected to grow 3 percentage points in the next 4 years. It has the highest penetration on fine dining menus.
  • Honey usage has grown in the non-alcoholic beverage category. Honey works as a natural superfood and functional ingredient in many trending health-focused beverages, such as matcha latte, kombucha, and functional juices.
  • Honey is growing in the vintage cocktail space. It’s used both as a sweetener and counterbalance to vinegar or bitter liquors like shrubs, Campari, and fernet.
  • Chicken and honey pairings are growing through the introduction of southern classics like chicken thighs, fried chicken sandwiches, and chicken & waffles.
  • Honey is recognized for its flavor versatility. Beyond the traditional honey mustard, honey can take on bold, spicy flavors like spicy honey, hot honey, and habanero.

Click here to download the 2020 Datassential Menu Tracking Report.


Nielsen Category Review - 2019

This 2019 Nielsen Category Review looks at the honey category in the retail space. Areas featured include:

  • Growth of honey 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.


Use & Attitude Survey - 2019

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

The 2019 Attitudes and Usage study was conducted with the following objectives:

Track attitudes, awareness, and usage of honey among a general population sample and identified target audience, Natural Balancers

  • Assess the potential impact of specific honey messages
  • This was an online survey among 2,000 U.S. consumers, with basic demographics balanced to the U.S. census. 

Some key findings include:

  • Top of Mind awareness is increasing for honey and sugar.
  • Perceptions of honey remain strong but have declined year-over-year.
  • Stated usage is softening primarily driven by 'heavy' users.
  • The morning occasion remains strong and increased for Gen Pop year-over-year.
  • Shopping behavior is playing out the need for local and raw - consumers are shopping more at farmer's markets and with their local beekeepers.
  • Relevance, value, and convenience continue to be key barriers to consumption and opportunities to drive growth.
  • Because of high loyalty to honey, Natural Balancers skew to "heavy users" which is impacting year-over-year behaviors.
  • Natural Balancers are increasingly more sensitive to price, impacting purchase frequency as raw/organic become a great portion of the mix.

Click here to download the full NHB U&A Study 2019 report.