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 - 2016

This 2016 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.


Nielsen Category Review - 2015

This 2015 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


Use & Attitude Survey - 2013

To get a better understanding of how consumers perceive honey, as well as how they use it, the National Honey Board conducted a usage and attitude survey at the beginning of 2013. In January, a total of 501 households, which consisted of men and women between the ages of 21 and 74, were interviewed using random digit dialing, including 20 percent cell phones (new for 2013).

Some key findings include:

  • From 2012 to 2013, there was an increase from 54 percent to 70 percent in consumers reporting that they purchased honey in the past year. Among moms, honey purchases increased from 61 percent to 75 percent in the past year.
  • Among Current Users who say their households are consuming more honey than last year, there was an increase from 16 percent in 2012 to 31 percent who cite that honey is healthier/better for them.
  • Honey continues to be used predominantly for food-related purposes, including in tea (55%), as an ingredient in a recipe (51%), and on toast/biscuits/muffins/cornbread (46%).
  • Over half of consumers are likely to use honey for non-food purposes. Among non-food purposes, consumers are most likely to use honey as a cough suppressant. One in five moms reports using honey as a cough suppressant/throat soother (19%).
  • From 2012 to 2013, there was a slight increase from 65 to 70 percent of consumers reporting that it is extremely or very important to them that honey is pure.
  • Current Users are most likely to incorrectly assess the statements about purity: "Pure honey has ingredients other than honey," "The darker the honey, the more pure it is," and "Honey without pollen is not honey," all of which are false.


Use & Attitude Survey - 2012

In order to better understand consumer's perceptions of honey and how they use it, the National Honey Board conducted a usage and attitude survey. In 2012, a total of 512 households, which consisted of men and women between the ages of 21 and 74, were interviewed using random digit dialing.

Some key findings include:

  • Compared to 2009, significantly more current users indicate they have consumed "much more" or "somewhat more" honey in the past year (32% versus 15%).
  • 85% of current users report that honey is used at least once a month in their household.
  • Honey continues to be used predominantly for food-related purposes, including in tea (67%), as an ingredient in a recipe (64%) and on toast/biscuits/muffins/cornbread (62%).
  • More respondents report using honey for non-food purposes this year than in 2009; of note, women, adults over 50, non-Caucasians and parents are the most likely groups to report using honey as a cough-suppressant.
  • The percentage of detractors – those who say they either "probably would not buy" or "definitely would not buy" honey – has declined to 47% from 2009 (57%) and 2006 (87%).


Moms and Health Professionals - 2011

In order to drive the National Honey Board's (NHB) educational campaign for consumers and health care professionals, the NHB conducted focus groups and a nationally fielded online survey which revealed a need for more education around babies and honey. The NHB research consisted of three focus groups among moms and three focus groups among health care professionals. Directional findings from the focus groups helped form questions that were given in an online nationwide survey of 500 moms with children ages 5 and younger fielded March 23-30th 2011.

Some key findings include:

  • More than half (57%) erroneously think babies should be 2 years or older before feeding them honey.
  • Only 15 percent of moms say they were afraid their child might inadvertently eat honey before age one.
  • A third of moms (34%) say they use honey rarely or never; less than a quarter say they use it regularly (23%).
  • Moms are nearly as likely to think honey is a potential allergen as they are to identify its association with bacterial illness (36% avoid feeding infants honey because it's an allergen, 39% avoid due to its association with bacterial illness).
  • Only one percent of moms chose "risk of botulism" as a reason to avoid feeding infants honey.
  • 93% of moms would be more likely to use honey as a cough suppressant if their pediatrician's office suggested it (78% very or somewhat more likely).


Honey IQ Survey for Foodservice Professionals - 2010

2010 Honey usage is growing among foodservice operators, according to a survey conducted by Technomic, Inc. on behalf of the National Honey Board. More than one in five Honey Trends Survey respondents (21 percent) expect to use more honey in 2011, and a resounding 99 percent expect to use as much or more honey next year as in 2010. New menu items (34 percent) and greater demand (22 percent) were cited as key factors for honey's growing usage.

Survey results show honey is a preferred sweetener, second only to sugar. Nine out of 10 operators purchase honey, and more than three-fourths (76 percent) purchase honey at least once a month. Notably, customer demand and trends (82 percent) were only narrowly beat by cost (85 percent) in terms of their influence on sweetener purchasing decisions at foodservice. Sixty percent of operators indicated that purity/all natural attributes are extremely or very important when purchasing sweeteners, with wholesome image close behind at 56 percent.


Use & Attitude Survey - 2009

Every 3 to 4 years, the National Honey Board surveys general consumers to find out what they think about honey and how they are using it. In 2009 a total of 521 households, which consisted of men and women between the ages of 21 and 74, were interviewed using random digit dialing.

Some key findings include:

  • 65% of households currently use and have honey in their home, a decrease from 2006 (82%).
  • 60% of respondents report purchasing honey within the past year.
  • One-quarter of the total number of respondents do not know that pure honey has no other ingredients. Those that believe there are ingredients added to honey expect to find various syrups, sugars and/or preservatives on the ingredient listing.
  • More than two-fifths of households indicate they are willing to pay a premium of about 10% for whole wheat bread, barbeque sauce and breakfast cereal made with honey.
  • Of the total number of respondents, it is reported that honey is primarily used as a sweetener in beverages and/or as a spread on toast, and subsequently is used most often at breakfast.


Hispanic Focus Groups - 2007

This study investigated the uses and attitudes towards honey in Hispanic Moms. Focus groups were conducted in three major Hispanic cities - Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami - with a total of 65 participants.

Some key findings include:

  • The vast majority of moms across markets use honey as a sweetener in tea or a cold/sore throat remedy.
  • Most reported paying between $3-5.00 for a small jar of honey.
  • Virtually none of the participants went out of their way to get honey from other countries.


Foodservice Focus Group - 2006

This focus group consisted of non-commercial operators who represent some of the largest and most influential operations in the country. The operators were asked to share ideas on honey in general and specific honey menu items (Honey & Tea Cooler; Honey-Rice Bar and Honeycomb & Cheese Appetizer) that were served at the focus group.

Some key findings include:

  • Honey is primarily used at the front of house as a condiment
  • Portion control packets are not exciting and resemble other condiments; mini bear containers would really set honey apart as a condiment.
  • Bottom dispensers are the "win" for mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard and because honey is slow to drain, there is a lot of waste, bottom dispensers would eliminate this problem.
  • Most logical categories for honey recipes are sauces, desserts, marinades, dressings, and appetizers (for catering).


Use & Attitude Survey - 2006

Every 4 years, the National Honey Board surveys general consumers to find out what they think about honey and how they are using it. In 2006 a total of 794 households, which consisted of men and women between the ages of 21 and 74, were interviewed using random digit dialing.

Some key findings include:

  • 82% of households currently use and have honey in their home.
  • The average honey consumer is a 48-year-old Caucasian female with a household income of $59,600 and some college education.
  • African-Americans are using honey more in 2006 than in 2002 (5.6 vs. 4.5 times per month).
  • On average, respondents think there are 76 calories per teaspoon of honey.
  • Less than one in ten are close in their understanding that there are only 21 calories per teaspoon of honey.