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Looming price hikes and quality issues mean consumers will take greater notice of declining bee populations

22 October 2014

Declining bee populations will hurt consumers’ wallets

Environmental groups have sounded the alarm about dramatic declines in the population of pollinating bees. Research by the USDA, for instance, says that the number of commercial honeybee colonies has halved over the past 70 years. Concern with bee populations has already led the EU to ban the use of some neonicotinoid pesticides. Meanwhile, brands such as Burt’s Bees and General Mill’s Cascadian Farms have launched initiatives highlighting the dangers facing honey bees.

This is an environmental issue that has the potential to hurt consumers’ wallets. Ronan Stafford, senior analyst with Canadean, says: “As the availability of resources decreases, prices of honey, and many fruit and vegetables, will increase. Alternatively, manufacturers will reformulate to minimise their exposure to ingredients with the most volatile prices, but consumers may fear that these reformulations mean a reduction in quality, driving a preference for more “natural” products, even as they prove more expensive.” 

The number of products positioned around environmental issues will rise

The environmental impact of production process has been largely synonymous with CO2 emissions. However, growing awareness of ecological issues means consumers will reward products that take a wider view of environmentalism.

Bee Free Honee, for instance, is a honey alternative developed in the US and made using organic apples. This provides a product for “those looking for stable pricing against the fluctuating costs of traditional honey due to the decline of the bee population”. The product also caters to other ethical concerns consumers might have, such as being vegan-friendly.

Bee Free Honee

Bee Free Honee is a honey alternative made with organic apples. 



All market insights are based on Canadean’s new report: 'Early Signals: Emerging trends that will drive consumption and product innovation over the next ten years.' Please get in contact if you have any questions to this or other Canadean reports. Analysts are available to comment. Contact the Canadean press office on +44 (0) 2079 366 713 or email

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