For decades, the price of honey has steadily climbed from 40 cents per pound* to 75 cents per pound and beekeepers, small and large, have made money. Canada is the second largest producer of honey in the world, next to China. Over the past several years, however, the price of honey has increased and is currently 85 to 90 cents per pound. In the year 2003, the price hit as high as $2.25, triple the historic high. Prices are expected to meet or exceed a historic high in 2013.
Bee product consumption is on the rise. Consumers are demanding natural food products such as honey, and they are learning to appreciate that there are several different varieties of honey that provide different flavors and vitamin content. Also, North American consumers are only just beginning to appreciate and demand the other high-valued products of the hive such as bee pollen and propolis. Bee pollen is a high protein multivitamin with many health benefits. Propolis is manufactured by honeybees using tree sap and beeswax. It kills bacteria, virus and fungus and is used to treat head colds, influenza, and skin infections.
There are about 300 commercial beekeepers in British Columbia and 1,900 hobbyists. Together, they use only a fraction of the available flora in the province and produce only a minute amount of honey consumed. Most of the bottled liquid honey consumed is produced by large-scale prairie beekeepers who sell to packing companies like Bee Maid. Most of the industrial honey (i.e. Honey Nut Cheerios) consumed is supplied by China and Argentina.
Demand for natural, un-pasteurized, raw honey is increasing because it is difficult to find. Most consumers purchase these products from farmers markets or from hobby beekeepers they familiar with.