A great question! I got this from a podcast interview with UK Honey Sommelier, Sarah Wyndham Lewis (I want to post a link to the content but haven’t been able to find it online. The above and below quotes are from Hive Talkin podcast episode 2). Unfortunately there is no easy answer to this question and many “honeys” out there contain little to no real honey.
Big brand honey packaging companies buy honey in bulk from producers, like us. This honey is blended, often with cheaper, inferior imported honeys that may or may not contain contamination and/or adulteration and processed to get a uniform, clear, amber liquid. To get honey from the drum into the jar it almost always needs to be heated.
There is currently a big honey industry shake-up involving multiple lawsuits in the USA that is bringing widespread honey fraud and adulteration to light. One interesting spin-off is this new product, Be Sweet, a “honey spread” that doesn’t contain honey. On the one hand, it’s refreshing to see a supermarket “honey” showing a little more honesty in marketing. On the other hand, a non-honey “honey” marketing itself as “bee friendly” seems a little much.
While we’re not local beekeepers for many of our customers, we hope Wendell Estate Honey can be the next best thing. We encourage you to support your local food producers (including beekeepers, of course). Why not sample different honeys to find the ones that you like most?
In the words of Sarah Wyndham Lewis, “What I’m asking people to do is to cross taste [unblended, natural] incredible honeys with supermarket honey and try and understand that supermarket honey isn’t honey…it’s a blend, and anything that says ‘blend’ you just don’t touch: you put it straight down back on the shelf. There’s no reason to blend honey, ever. [Supermarket honey] is an anonymized global product that’s been very highly processed…Supermarket honey has taste, while real honey has flavours. We want to make people into honey snobs.”
We agree. Eat honey like a beekeeper.