Americans eat four cents of honey every day. Wow.

It’s January. Here in Canada, that’s usually the coldest time of the year. Time to eat some honey.  A healthy, quick energy treat that’s not too bad to feast upon. Especially good mixed with whiskey and lemon juice if you think you’re getting a winter cold. I know people who use honey with whiskey even if they’re not getting a cold.

I don’t know which month has the most honey consumed, but I’m guessing January. The average North American honey consumption rate is about one-and-half pounds (750 grams) per person per year.  About 2 grams per day. I was wondering what 2 grams of something might look like.  At the top of my Google search was this stuff, which sells for $30 for 2 grams. (Check out YouTube’s How to Weigh Weed For Dummies.) Two grams looks like this:

Two grams of honey retails for about 4 cents.  (Cheaper than the weed, above, at $30 for two grams. By the way, this is an awfully expensive way to get fuel for your bee smoker.)  Honey at four cents a day? That’s how much money the average person (in North America) spends on a daily honey habit – about four pennies.  (And we don’t even have pennies in Canada anymore!)

Obviously, a pound-and-half of honey per year per person is not much. A family of four would be racing out to the grocery store to buy a one-pound jar every two months to keep it in stock.  Meanwhile, good ole plain white granulated sugar is eaten at a rate of about 100 pounds a year. Why is refined sugar almost 100 times more popular than honey?

Wealthy countries like the USA, Canada, and most of Europe eat a healthy pound, more or less. In Germany, the average is one kilo (over two pounds!) while in Sweden, it’s closer to one pound.  Meanwhile, for the entire world, the honey-eating average is only one-third of one pound. Barely enough to dampen the palate. If the global average increased to the German average, we’d need seven times the current world honey production. But I don’t expect that to happen anytime soon. And the chance that honey will ever match refined sugar?  Pretty close to zero.

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About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a geophysicist who also does a bit of science writing and blogging. Ron has worked as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and is based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He has written two books, dozens of magazine and journal articles, and complements his first book, Bad Beekeeping, with a popular blog at www.badbeekeepingblog.com. Ron wrote his most recent book, The Mountain Mystery, for everyone who has looked at a mountain and wondered what miracles of nature set it upon the landscape. For more about Ron, including some cool pictures taken when he was a teenager, please check Ron's site: miksha.com.
This entry was posted in Culture, or lack thereof, Honey, Strange, Odd Stuff and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Americans eat four cents of honey every day. Wow.

  1. susan rudnicki says:

    There is a new Netflix series out—“Rotten” https://www.eater.com/…/rotten-netflix-trailer-documentary-…

    Anyone who eats food needs to watch this about the corruption in the sourcing and selling of our food supply. Starts on Netflix January 5. The link above has a trailer.

    “Each episode will take on a different angle. For example, the first installment, titled “Lawyers, Guns, and Honey,” intends to explore “the new global honey business and largest food fraud investigation and prosecution in history — a scam known as Honeygate.” Other topics covered include inequality in the mass-market poultry industry and “massive criminal exploitation” in American fisheries.”

    Like

    • Ron Miksha says:

      Hi Susan,
      Thanks for the link to the rotten Netflix series. I’ll watch it. I hope that they got their facts straight – it’s a big story, should be known by everyone, and doesn’t need embellishments. The straight truth is bad enough.
      By the way, I wrote a long blog post about Honeygate last year. You can see it here: https://badbeekeepingblog.com/2016/10/02/sometimes-they-get-caught-then-gently-tapped-on-their-knuckles/

      Like

      • susan rudnicki says:

        I watched it last night (and I rarely watch the Tube) It seemed to get most of the facts straight as I know them—the trans-shipping from China with falsified papers through other ports, the adulteration and contaminents, the sheer demand that can’t possibly be met by real bees, etc. It only shows the industrial side of the honey biz, with a side on the migratory pollinator biz, so innocent citizens might believe there is no other kind of honey out there except mostly the “warehouse blended”variety—which gets quite a long look. And there are NO women beeks shown—only a couple women in secretarial roles. I must’ve missed your write up so will look now thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Ron Miksha says:

      I just watched Lawyers, Guns, and Honey. Thanks for suggesting it! I’m going to put up a blog about the film (and will be quoting your remarks!) – I think it;’s a great documentary and everyone should watch it.

      Like

  2. Emily Scott says:

    Is that 100 pounds of white granulated sugar per person being used in home cooking as an ingredient in things or is that eaten by people in pre-processed foods? Manufacturers prefer sugar because it’s cheaper. I think it’s fair to say it’s also more versatile. For instance you can make meringue with sugar but not as easily with honey. And some people dislike the taste of honey whereas sugar is a more neutral sweet taste.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ron Miksha says:

      Hi Emily,
      You are right – the figure includes refined sugars (including corn syrup) and ingredients in soda/pops/poptarts/candy.. Manufacturers will keep using sugars as cheaper sweetners unless people resist and insist on honey-sweetened substitutes. (And that probably won’t happen.)
      I have to comment, though, if “some people dislike the taste of honey” they haven’t given honey a fair test – there are so many flavours and some are quite neutral. I know someone living here in Calgary (home of nice water-white, mild honey) who couldn’t stand honey as a child (it ‘tasted like medicine’) but after moving here, she discovered that she really likes honey.

      Like

  3. Pingback: Americans eat four cents of honey every day. Wow. | Beginner Beekeeper

  4. Pingback: Americans eat four cents of honey every day. Wow. | Raising Honey Bees

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