Where is all the honey coming from?
According to the US National Honey Board, per person consumption of honey has doubled in America since the 1990s. Demand has increased, but domestic honey production has not. In 2016, American bees produced 73,000 tonnes of honey, or 35% less than they did 20 years ago. To meet demand, America imports a lot of honey: 203,000 tonnes of the golden loveliness in 2017.
Europeans love honey and eat on average 0.7kg each per year. But Europe eats more honey than it produces. So, Europe also imports a great deal of honey each year.
Where does the world import a lot of its honey from?
China. Europe turns to China for 50% of its honey imports, as does the USA (although much of it is not “directly” imported due to the high tariffs).
But the world bee population is declining, everywhere in the world. Pesticide poisoning, pollution, and a loss of bee habitat due to urbanisation and single-crop horticulture are killing our bees.
Productivity per beehive around the world is also dropping, so how can the Chinese bees deliver such a high yield?
Between 2000 and 2014, according to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization, China increased its honey production by 88% with 473,600 tonnes being produced in 2014. But the number of beehives over the same period only increased by 21%.
Approximately 1.8 million tons of honey were produced worldwide in 2016, and more than 25% of this global total was produced by China.
How can that bee?
Cheap imports of counterfeit honey are endangering beekeeping around the world, and the consequences for world food production are severe.
According to the US Pharmacopeia’s Food Fraud Database, honey is now the third-favourite food target for adulteration, behind milk and olive oil.
Honey fraud can take different forms. For instance, by selling cheaper multi-floral honey as single source honey, by diluting it with cheaper things like corn, rice and beet syrup, adding sugar syrups to increase the volume, or by harvesting it ahead of time and then drying it artificially in large “honey factories”, to cut time and costs. Fraudsters also harvest prematurely, leaving the liquid with a high water content.
Foreign sugars were found 1.4 times in every 10 honey samples tested by the European Joint Research Centre, according to research published in December 2016.
In all cases, the final product is far from what consumers think they’re buying, which is pure honey.
The issue? Whether what you’re buying is 100% pure honey.
The solution. Get raw pure honey directly from credible sources, like Manuka Corner. We ship our pure raw honey all over the world.
That way you know the raw honey you’re buying is pure honey: no additives, no dodgy harvesting techniques. Check out our raw NZ manuka honey. It’s lovely, pure honey!