One of the best ways to think about the journey to making a honey purchase is by creating a purchase decision tree (below), which illustrates the key considerations that a shopper makes at each step. To shed more light on how people make the decision to purchase honey, we mined information from NHB’s Consumer Attitudes & Usage Study 2020 to look specifically at the factors shoppers consider in different purchase situations.

It begins before someone even heads to the store, when a consumer planning a shopping trip considers whether they will need to purchase honey. NHB’s study found that nearly three-quarters of honey purchase occasions are planned; the consumer either sees they are running low on honey and needs to restock, or they have a special use in mind for honey that has them writing it on their shopping list. The other 27% of purchase occasions are not planned but will be decided while in the store.

Nearly two-thirds of all planned honey purchases are driven by the need to restock, while the balance – 23% of overall honey purchase decisions – are due to having a special recipe or use in mind.

Price is the #1 consideration in both situations, followed by size. Next comes consideration of what brand of honey to purchase, and then what form of honey – liquid, whipped or comb. Ranked after these first four attributes come consideration of any product claims, specifically whether honey is labeled as raw or unfiltered, local or organic.

When comparing considerations made with a restock purchase in mind versus with a specific use, price is slightly less important when purchasing honey for a specific use. An organic claim is somewhat more important and moves ahead of local in the rankings.

Nearly two-thirds of the unplanned purchases were influenced by seeing honey on display or on promotion. This situation accounted for 15% of overall honey purchase decisions in the study. The balance of unplanned purchase decisions – accounting for 1 in 10 honey purchases – are because the shopper saw a new type of honey or something different that interested them.

For shoppers deciding to purchase based on a display or promotion, the first three considerations are the same as planned purchases – but then several notable differences are apparent. Raw and local claims become more important and rise in the rankings, while form and an organic claim are weighted lower.

When looking at unplanned purchases influenced by seeing something new and different, price is still the #1 consideration but significantly less important than the other purchase situations, as is the consideration of size. On the other hand, the importance of a claim of raw or unfiltered rises to the #2 ranking and an organic claim also moves much higher.