Sunday, November 12, 2006

Eating Honey Moral, Environmentally Sound Choice

Buzz On Honey Tastes Sweet
LAURA RANCE, Winnipeg Free Press, 11/11/2006

Just as meat producers rejoiced when the Atkins Diet caught consumers' fancy, the latest buzz about ethical eating tastes pretty sweet to local honey producers…

Some are even calling it the "new organic" when it comes to food trends that can reshape and reposition product lines.

Lower transportation and energy costs, the potential for a direct connection with the producer and the ability to monitor production processes -- are all facets that have growing appeal to consumers.

Industry analysts are consistently finding that a rising proportion of consumers are willing to pay more for foods that coincide with specific values. This is good news for honey.

A report on the Canadian Honey Council website cites a Life Cycle Analysis of sweeteners, a calculation of the amount of energy consumed from their production, processing through to the consumers' mouth.

The analysis conducted by Swedish researchers found that it takes as much energy to produce a pound of chocolate as it does to make the equivalent weight of gasoline. Sugar and jam weren't far behind…

The exception is locally produced honey. Bees actually contribute to the environment by pollinating, which is a natural productivity enhancer, as they move among annual crops and wildflowers during the summer months.

Extracting the honey from hives costs a fraction of what it takes to make corn sugar (fructose syrup) from a wet milling process. In fact, there is very little processing involved.

Honey is also typically transported shorter distances than sugar. "Canadians buying domestic honey support a beekeeper who owns their own business and who abides by numerous health and safety regulations. Canadian honey has less impact on the environment, conforms to ethical labour practices and keeps our rural communities vibrant," the report says.

Yet, Canadian honey often loses out in the grocer when ethically minded consumers get fooled into thinking organic cane sugar is the moral option…

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