You may see granulated honey or powdered honey on sale and have a few questions about these products.
For those who like the idea of a dried honey format which can be spooned and measured easily, this idea may be appealing.
However, I would urge you to check the ingredients, and if convenience is something you are after, then I recommend you first think about it.
This may seem as though I am completely against granulated and powdered honey.
Actually, I'm not!
However, I am against people being misled,
but as long as people know what they are buying and the price is a fair
reflection, that's fine by me.
Also, I'm not one of these people who is against cane sugar either - I certainly use it, mostly in cake making, and my husband takes it in his coffee. I sometimes like to have sugar and lemon juiceon pancakes too. Nothing wrong with that in my book. However, I think it's important to point out that if what you are after is the specific honey flavour and properties, then is there any point in buying a product that seems to be honey, but is mostly sugar or something else?
That really depends, but powders and granulated formats are not necessarily more convenient than liquid or set honey - there are many, many recipes using traditional honey in baking.
And there are many excellent honey recipe books - like this one featured left!
However, it is true that using a spoon with powdered honey is always going to be easier than handling liquid honey.
I also want to point out that some people wrongly believe that liquid, set and crystallized honey will go off, and that powdered and granulated honey will be better because the assumption is that they won't. If this is your reasoning, please note that honey does NOT go off anyway! It may crystallize, but this is natural and does not negatively effect the honey. You can read more about crystallized honey here.
This is where I become critical. As stated above, if people know what they are buying beforehand, that's fine.
I advise you to check the label carefully before you purchase. During processing, other ingredients may have been added. It all depends on whether you are happy with them.
For example, I have noted that sometimes, products contain wheat, which causes allergic problems for quite a few people. I think this should be clear to people before they make a purchase.
Problem is, food products cannot always be returned! So, if you don't check the ingredients first you may not be happy with your purchase.
On the otherhand, the addition of other ingredients may not bother you at all, but I suspect most peole would like to be fully aware of what they are buying.
During my investigations, I have found the following ingredients added to different powdered and granulated honey brands:
In my view, some of these products are outrageously expensive in comparison with real honey, which I explain below.
If what you are buying is essentially sugar, what price is it fair to pay? Would you be better off buying sugar, then adding a little honey as an when required?
All of these refer to my investigations of product for sale on Amazon. (Please don't get me wrong, there are some great products for sale on Amazon too - I refer to a number of them on my website).
My personal gripes are as follows:
1. Descriptions on Amazon that imply that real honey is at least the main ingredient – but a closer investigation - perhaps by zooming in on the label - reveals that honey is only the second ingredient, and with no indication as to the relative percentages!
2. Use of the term ‘Cactus Honey’ which can easily imply to the less well informed, that the product is made by bees who have created honey after foraging on cactus flowers. This is not the case. The term ‘Cactus Honey’ refers to ‘Agave Nectar’ which is derived from the syrup of the agave plant and has nothing at all to do with honey bees. Honey made by bees, goes through a distinct process, and can be subtle in its variations. Raw, untreated honey will contain other natural elements.
3. Price! My view is that a higher price can be misleading, because it can imply ‘quality’.
(Sometimes, the price is given in such a way that means comparisons are not immediately obvious – you have to get your calculator out).
4. No information on Amazon! Technically, you could say that ‘no information’ means that a person is not being misled. However, it is also a way in which a seller can easily get around descriptive and labelling issues – at least on Amazon - by simply not adding them. If you see a product for sale on Amazon which does not feature a full description and (most importantly) photographs of labels, I advise you: do further research, because remember, there may be restrictions regarding the return of food products (actually preventing you from returning and gaining a refund – check first).
Remember, you can always be selective in your final product choice.
Also, another word of warning: I have come across some strange and, frankly, dodgy “positive reviews”!
Anyway, here are some examples where I think it is interesting to look closely at the offering and compare prices.
But firstly, we need some real, quality product to benchmark against...
so….. (these prices are as advertised on 14th April 2017 - so please check for current pricing).
Price per ounce: $0.56 - this seems appropriately priced, but cheaper, non-organic honey is available too.
Price per ounce: $0.20
Organic Agave Nectar is cheaper than pure honey.
Granulated Honey Products and Powdered Honey products available on Amazon:
Price per ounce: $0.81 – this product is not only about 45% more expensive than the organic honey brand I mention, it is also more pricey than Agave nectar (remember, Cactus honey is Agave Nectar -which you can buy for $0.20 per ounce!).
At the time of writing, the Amazon description reads:
"About the product
Organic Honey and Organic Cane Juice"
But look more closely at the actual
label and you’ll see that ‘Organic Cane Juice’ is actually the first ingredient
– i.e. before honey.
Price per ounce: $1.09 !!
Ingredients: Refiners syrup, honey
(So it looks like refiners syrup is the main ingredient! )
Hhmmmm....so why is it so expensive, I wonder?
Price per ounce: $0.50 – slightly less per ounce than pure, organic honey, but given that its main ingredient is sucrose (then honey) this price still seems high.
Interestingly, the Amazon description at the time of writing reads:
Honey, wheat starch, calcium stearate [anti-caking] and soy lechithin"
Price per ounce: $0.82 – 46% more expensive than YS organic honey.
From the label, the product appears to contain primarily honey at least, but also contains wheat (so watch out if you have a wheat gluten allergy) and calcium stearate.
Please note, I find this part of the description
"Essentials Long Term Powdered Honey - 25 Year Shelf Life Dried Honey Powder for Emergency Food Storage Supply" an absolute joke considering that liquid honey does not go off anyway!
The FDA publish guidelines regarding the labelling of honey. It's actually okay for suppliers to blend honey with other ingredients, as long as the product is properly labelled. It seems that as long as the information is covered on the ingredients list, then it's fine.
Interestingly, they cite a particular case:
21 U.S. Code § 342 - Adulterated food
A food shall be deemed to be adulterated — ....
However, as long as the added ingredients are included on the label, it seems it's okay - it's just that we have to double check before purchasing!
If none of this is of concern for you, then it doesn't matter. Personally, I think everyone should have all the information easily to hand before purchase, and a product which is mostly Sucrose, Agave Nectar or any product not actually honey, should NOT be allowed to be called 'Honey' in my opnion!
Because in my view, this does "make it appear to be of greater value than it is".
you agree, I can only suggest you contact the FDA and report examples
where you feel a product is named in a misleading fashion, and please spread the word to encourage people to check information. I also think it's time to ask Amazon to take a stand too. At the very least, I would like them to ensure products are described in accordance with the labelling requirements, and any allergens (such as wheat) should be clearly mentioned. All products offered for sale, should in my view, be required to supply full information so that buyers can make informed decisions before purchasing.
Personally it annoys me. There are very good beekeepers out there, taking care of their bees and working to produce quality honey products and trying to get a fair price. When I see companies offering and labelling product as honey, when honey is not the main ingredient, this seems very unfair!
There are plenty of good quality honey products on Amazon, along with recipe books to inspire you. Here is a selection:
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