A bee will produce on average about half a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. There are over 300 varieties of honey including clover, manuka, wildflower and orange blossom. Location, climate, soil and temperature, which is often referred to as ‘terroir’, all affect honey’s sensory characteristics. Floral sources and mineral content play a key role in relation to honey’s unique amber colour, sweet aroma, texture and flavour. Honey is made from bees collecting flower nectar which is then broken down to sugars stored inside honeycombs.
Europe is the second largest global producer of honey, after China. The market for honey is predicted noticeable growth, driven by global consumer demand for natural and healthy ingredients. About 25% of the honey consumed in Europe is used as an ingredient in food products as told by CBI (Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries). These are used in many products, for example:
• Honey based drinks – soft drinks, sodas, diet sodas, alcoholic beverages and dairy drinks.
• RTD Teas – particularly green tea beverages
• Low level ‘sweetener’ in fruit systems
• Bakery and confections
The Buzz Around Honey
Known for its medicinal properties, honey can be a healthier substitute to sugar and artificial sweeteners. The sweetness found in honey comes from monosaccharides, fructose and glucose. Honey contains more calories than sugar, but you’ll need less of it to achieve sweetness due to its high level of fructose. Honey also contains small amounts of vitamins, minerals, proteins and polyphenolic compounds such as phenolic acid and flavonoids. According to Global Data, 77% of consumers globally in 2017 believe that honey has a positive impact on their health, with consumer preference on natural sweeteners due to its health connotations. Common flavour pairings with honey include ginger, cinnamon, tea and most fruits including citrus, berries and figs.