Per capita consumption of all caloric sweeteners has been falling for the last 15 years, but per capita honey consumption has been on an upward trend, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported this month.
In 2014, Americans consumed an average of 0.9 pounds of honey per person, according to the USDA, up from half a pound in 1990.
Much of the increased honey consumption is of imported honey. Honey imports two years ago totaled 365.3 million pounds, up from an average of 104.4 million pounds per year in the early 1990s. Domestic net production of honey, at an average of 167.9 million pounds in the early 1990s, has fallen to an average of 106.7 million pounds in the last seven years, according to the USDA.
“Weakening colony strength from multiple honey bee health challenges and changes in land-use patterns are among the factors contributing to declining domestic honey production.” the agency reported.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, whose weekly column appears in WNY Refresh, is among those who praise the power of phytonutrients and antibacterial and antifungal properties in raw honey. But he says honey can cause botulism in infants, so children younger than 1 should never consume it in raw or pasteurized form.