Take a closer look at the soaring popularity of honey.
Consumption of honey is at an all-time high. Used to add nuanced sweetness to everything from salad dressings to cocktails to potato chips, honey is one of the world’s most versatile ingredients.
So, why the buzz? To answer this question, let’s look at honey’s health halo. A whopping 38% of global consumers say they are actively trying to reduce their sugar consumption (GlobalData, 2022) and many consider honey to be more desirable than refined sugar.
Moving from sweet to savory and spicy, honey is one of the most popular flavours paired with protein. Honey garlic, honey barbecue, honey sriracha and honey chipotle are just some of the sauces, glazes and marinades enlivening wings, chicken sandwiches, plant-based sausages and meal kits. The hot honey trend, which was prevalent in Brazilian pizzerias before making its way across the globe (Mintel, 2023), continues to play on consumers’ love of flavour mashups.
Operators are leaning heavily into hot honey flavours, especially paired with chicken, to create craveable offerings.
Honey is the ideal ingredient for balancing savory and spicy flavours, especially when used in sauces that are paired with proteins. In that context, honey is occasionally used to replace refined sugars, so highlighting the health halo that honey can add to products is key.
CPG brands are also leveraging honey as a refined sugar replacement, creating more naturally sweetened offerings. Brands are also highlighting honey’s origin, varietal, bee-friendly farming techniques and even bee-free offerings to create more eco-friendly honey products.
Create And Innovate – A touch of sweetness?
The versatility of honey to pair with other ingredients makes it a true back-of-house staple. Chefs Jordi Gallego and Eugeni Pons are showcasing honey as top ingredient to innovate with for both protein and snack products.
Smoke honey Pork & Cabbage sausage
This flexitarian sausage dish combines cabbage and pork meats, flavored with a delicious Smoked Honey seasoning. It’s served with a side of sweet potato mash, meat gravy, and a honey mustard sauce for an extra burst of flavor.
- Smoke Honey seasoning
- Meat gravy
- Honey mustard sauce
Hot-Hot Honey Chicken Wings
Playing up sweet and heat is a great way to add signature appeal to chicken. Coated with Southern-style breading, they are fried and then glazed with a fiery hot honey sauce (A blend of honey and chili). Be warned, these wings pack a punch!
- Chicken marinade rotisserie
- SFC Style predust + Batter + Flourbreader
- Spicy Honey sauce
Pulled “Free” meat & oyster Mushrooms loaded roots
A healthy vegetarian alternative to loaded fries. Baked root vegetables topped with flavorful honey barbecue pulled meat (free) and oyster mushrooms, along with a fresh yogurt sauce and a colorful Pico de Gallo. For an extra crispiness, topped with a Kalinda Jerk.
- Beef mimics seasoning + binder
- Sweet Honey Barbecue Sauce
- Yogurt sauce
- Kalinda Jerk BBQ
Miso style & Honey Kale Chips
A snack for any time, as aperitive or indulgence, healthy, crispy and tasty Kale leaves, blanched and baked. Flavoured with a Miso style and Honey seasoning.
- Miso style and Honey seasoning
Looking to brighten up your offerings with honey? – Take them to the next level!
Contact your Griffith Foods representative or the chefs to learn how these exciting, versatile products can enhance your product and menu offerings with the sweet touch of honey.
Chef Tip: “Spice-infused honey adds the perfect finishing touch to any savory dish. Simmer warm spices together with honey, considering such combinations as ginger and lavender, cumin and black pepper or black cardamom and star anise.”
–Chef Mark Serice, Vice President Global Culinary, Griffith Foods
Looking Forward: What’s next for the honey category?
As brands start to explore more sustainable practices that acknowledge the environmental impact of honey production, bee-friendly farming techniques and even bee-free honey will continue to grow.
A NATURAL ALTERNATIVE:
Brands are starting to communicate the benefits of honey not just as a flavour enhancer but as a refined sugar replacement. As consumers increasingly look for reduced or natural sugar options, honey will play an even more important role in new product launches, including snacks and sauces.
THE HEAT IS ON:
Hot honey is commonly used in foodservice innovation, presenting an opportunity to explore more nuanced spicy honey flavours with specific chile flavour callouts. Other up-and-coming flavour pairings will include truffle, citrus, ginger and more.
© 2023 Griffith Foods. All rights reserved.
Christopher Doering, “US honey consumption soars to all-time high amid better-for-you trend,” Food Dive, August 18, 2022.
GlobalData, “Mapping the Strategic Direction of Foodservice,” March 3, 2022.
“Hey there, honey: 6 new candies made with honey entice consumers,” Candy Industry, October 13, 2021.
“Honey Varietals,” National Honey Board, accessed December 2022.
Jocelyn Benjamin, “Bee Better Certification Program is Buzzing on U.S. Farms, Local Grocers,” USDA, July 29, 2021.
Mintel, 2023 FlavorIQ® Food and Flavor Outlook Report, January 2023.