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Honey Market: Key Facts to Know about Top 5 Producing Countries

27 Apr 2018 • by Natalie Aster

LONDON – Recognized from pole to pole for its numerous benefits and a slew of uses, natural honey is extremely popular worldwide as a ‘healthy’ sugar alternative. Today, honey is used in a broad array of commercial products, for instance, pharmaceuticals, foods, bakery, etc. Besides, honey extract is included in a variety of beauty and health products.

The world’s output of honey exhibited a substantial growth from 2010 till 2015. However, there were some noticeable fluctuations during the review period, for instance, remarkable declines were witnessed in 2013 and 2014. As of 2015, the overall honey output volume crossed 1.8 million metric tons, registering a YoY increase of almost 13%. In 2016, the global honey output fell off again.

Global volume of natural honey production during 2000-2016 (in million metric tons)
Global volume of natural honey production during 2000-2016 (in million metric tons)

The world’s natural honey market is currently experiencing erratic growth due to the increasing global population, improved supply chain and logistics, and higher yields. Furthermore, soaring purchasing power and continued modernization of storage and transportation infrastructure have pushed the natural honey market to new heights.

In the years ahead, the world’s natural honey market is anticipated to keep to a strong upward trend with high growth rates. By 2022, the overall output volume may climb to 2.4 million metric tons. Some of the key market 

growth drivers comprise the mounting demand for natural, healthy alternatives to artificial sweeteners, increasing awareness about the benefits of honey over sugar, towering demand from the Food & Beverages industry, and also increasing use in such industries as Agriculture, Cosmetics, Medicines, etc.

At present, APAC is the biggest while also the most rapidly-growing regional market for natural honey. Through 2022, this regional market is slated to go up at the highest CAGR (5.2%) worldwide.

As for honey producing countries, China is an unrivalled leader with a lion’s share (nearly 39%) of the global output volume.

Top 5 Honey Producing Countries:

 1.    CHINA

China has maintained a position of the world’s dominant producer of natural honey for many years, by far outpacing other honey producing-countries. In 2016, the Chinese natural honey production volume surpassed 490.84 thousand metric tons.

Around three-fourths of the country’s honey output is consumed domestically. China ranks the top honey consumer across the globe.

Besides, this country is also recognized as the leading exporter of natural honey. In 2016, China’s natural honey exports reached USD 276.56 million, which is equivalent to appr. 12.3% of the world’s total export value.

China’s honey exports value and volume during 2010-2016

Despite the high domestic production, China still imports a huge amount of honey. In 2016, the honey imports volume stood at above 6,000 metric tonnes, which in value terms equaled to around USD 72.77 million. China’s major source countries for honey imports include New Zealand, Germany, Australia, Thailand, Russia, France, amid others.


Turkey ranks second largest honey-producing country across the globe. However, it is lagging far behind China. Turkey’s natural honey output volume stood at about 105.53 thousand metric tons in 2016, registering a 2.2% YoY drop.

The most in-demand sort of honey in Turkey is pine honey, which is widely produced in the Aegean region of the country. Nearly 92% of the world’s total pine honey output comes from Turkey.

Revenues generated from Turkey’s honey exports shoot up by 60% YoY in 2017: Turkey earned around USD 23.8 million from honey exports to 45 countries. The volume of the country’s honey exports also registered an enormous upswing last year. Germany, the US, and Saudi Arabia are the top three purchasers of Turkish honey. 2018 is likely to become another successful year for the Turkish honey industry.

 3.    IRAN

The third major share in the global honey production volume belongs to Iran. The Iranian honey output added 5.3% YoY in 2016 and reached 80.56 thousand metric tons. The number of honeybee colonies in the country is estimated at around 7.45 million.

As for exports, about 1,500 metric tons of Iranian honey were supplied abroad in 2016. The top destinations included Turkey, some Eurasian countries, and the littoral states of the Persian Gulf.

 4.    The USA

The USA is the fourth largest natural honey producer in the world. In 2016, the country’s output volume was around 73.43 thousand metric tons. However, the US honey market (as the global one) is highly volatile.

The US honey production value during 2010-2017 (in million USD)

 The US honey production value during 2010-2017 (in million USD)

The leading honey producing states in the US include North Dakota, South Dakota, California, Montana, and Florida. North Dakota far outpaces the other states, in 2016 its output volume stood at over 33.6 million pounds, whilst the second leading state, South Dakota, produced only about 14.53 million pounds.

The US is also a heavy honey importer as the domestic production can’t satisfy the existing demand: imported honey accounts for over 64% of the domestic consumption. In 2016, the country imported appr. 369.3 million pounds of honey. The dominant suppliers of honey to the US include Vietnam, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Canada.

 5.    RUSSIA

The fifth position in terms of honey production is held by Russia. The country’s honey output totaled 69.76 thousand metric tons in 2016. The Russian honey market is strongly dependent on seasonal fluctuations and weather conditions. The Volga, Siberian, and Central federal districts are the major honey producing regions in Russia; together they account for almost 70% of the domestic honey output volume.

The annual per capita honey consumption in Russia stands at around 1.4 kg. Though domestic honey consumption in Russia is still rather low, surging health and wellness trend is poised to boost the demand for honey in the country.

The major chunk of the country’s honey production volume is consumed domestically. However, Russia also exports honey to such countries as China, the US, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Belgium, and other countries.

Bottom Line

The increasing use of honey as a healthy sugar alternative, vital energy source, weight loss source, and immune system builder is the key engine of the world’s honey market growth. Ongoing advancements in food-making technologies will further spur the honey consumption in the Food & Beverages industry and, thus, boost the honey market growth. Moreover, the mounting demand for honey and its extracts from the Medicines and Cosmetics industries will likely open new lucrative growth opportunities in the foreseeable future.

 © MarketPublishers.com, 2018

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