More evidence from honey’s momentum comes from consumer/shopper studies, which showed that household penetration of honey increased slightly in 2016, with 57,000 additional households purchasing honey versus the prior year. And shoppers were buying honey more often: The average interval between honey purchases in the retail channel for repeat buyers decreased by 3.6 days to 70.2 days, although the overall purchase size and buying rate were flat1.
The National Honey Board’s target consumer for honey, Natural Balancers, are 18% more likely to shop at Target, 12% more likely to shop at Albertsons/Safeway and 10% more likely to shop at Kroger. On the other hand, Natural Balancers are 15% less likely to shop at Ahold stores and 11% less likely to shop at Meijer. The largest honey retailer by volume and dollar sales, Walmart, is 6% more likely to be shopped by Natural Balancers, which is the same preference that our target consumers show for Wegmans2.
A basket affinity study3 commissioned by NHB identified the purchase frequencies of various categories purchased in the same transactions as honey, and attention should be paid to honey’s affinity for oft-purchased items. Of particular note:
Leaf tea has a purchase affinity of 625 with honey (meaning it is 6.25 times more likely to be purchased if honey is in the shopping basket), the highest level of any product category in the store.
Bananas are included in 12.4% of transactions and have an affinity index of 246 for being purchased with honey.
Cereals are part of 7.3% of shopping transactions and have an affinity index of 289 for honey.
Yogurt is in 6.7% of shopping carts, with an affinity index of 303.
Honey exhibits a strong association with the breakfast occasion, as the basket affinity study showed that honey is more frequently being purchased alongside tea, jam and jellies, hot cereal, yogurt, bagels and muffins, and ground coffee. Honey also has a strong affinity with baking, as transactions including honey are more likely to also include spices and seasonings, oils, baking ingredients, butter, flour and sugar. And the case can also be made that honey is associated with cold and flu occasions, as honey is more frequently purchased in the same transactions as facial tissue, cough, cold and allergy medications and wet soup. (Tea could fall into this occasion as well.)