Honey Market - China Leads the Way in the Global Honey Trade

Other Food Products September 24, 2015
Author: Olga Minchina
Account Manager

honey market

Honey is predominantly consumed in its unprocessed state, in other words - in a liquid, crystallized form or in the comb. Containing a complex of naturally flavored sugars as well as trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids, honey is consumed as medicine, food or as an ingredient in numerous desserts and savory dishes.

Consistent growth in the popularity of this product is owed to the rising awareness of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, encouraging consumers to opt for natural artisanal food and beverage products over artificial alternatives. What's more, the unique flavor of honey, universally sweet but also rich, is relished by people of all ages.

As with wine, the flavor of honey greatly depends on its geographic location and its properties, such as soil and temperature, often referred to as terroir. This combination of factors determines the special fingerprint of honey, creating its own exclusive impression. The terroir and the pollens collected by honeybees make honey rich in a number of different notes, from the light and delicate notes of chamomile to the more powerful notes of rose or jasmine.

The countries with the largest honeybee population in 2013 were India (11,600 thousand No), China (9,780 thousand No) and Turkey (6,641 thousand No), together accounting for 76.2% of the total honeybee population. The highest annual growth rate was recorded in Turkey (+5.5%), while India (+2.9%) and China (+2.4%) displayed more modest rates of growth.

Honey yield fluctuated significantly over the analyzed period. Its lowest point was in 2010 with 443 Hg and the highest was in 2008 with 458 Hg. The yield in 2013 exceeded the yield of the previous year, reaching 452 Hg.

The number of honeybee colonies in China is far greater than in any other country. The Qinghai province in the west adjacent to Tibet is considered to be the major beekeeping region in China. It is a large thinly populated province abundant in grass lands and grazing animals.

In China, honey is commonly used for medicinal purposes, and is marketed as such in special sections in supermarkets or on highlighted displays in small shops. In addition, honey can be bought directly from local beekeepers right on the street or in their homes, directly out of the pail.

Honey trade expansion is anticipated to increase at a slower pace in the next decade, compared with the previous ten years, but, nevertheless, will outpace production growth.

In 2014, China was the main global supplier of honey with a share of 21.7% of global exports. It was followed by Argentina (9.1%) и Mexico (6.6%). However, the fastest growing suppliers on the global honey market from 2007 to 2014 were Ukraine (+49.1% per year) and India (+37.7% per year).

China dominated in global honey production and trade, exporting 26.8% of its total honey output in 2014. Of this amount, 20.0% was supplied to Japan, where Chinese honey held a 64.0% share from Japan's total consumption.

The U.S. (27.5%) was the leading destination of honey imports, followed by Germany (13.6%), the United Kingdom (6.5%), Japan (6.3%) and France (5.7%). Together these five leading countries made up 59.5% of global imports. The share of the U.S. increased (+2.3 percentage points), while the share of Germany illustrated negative dynamics (-8.9 percentage points).

Do you want to know more about the global honey market? Get the latest trends and insight from our report. It includes a wide range of statistics on

  • honey market share
  • honey prices
  • honey industry
  • honey sales
  • honey market forecast
  • honey price forecast
  • key honey producers

Source: World: Honey - Market Report. Analysis And Forecast To 2020