Heather Honey is recognised as a particularly unique kind among honey varieties. Packed with nutritional benefits, some key Heather Honey benefits have led industry experts to compare it to manuka honey.
What is Heather Honey and why are key industry players incorporating it into their pharma, food supplement and retail catalogs? Keep reading to find out in our brief guide about it.
What is Heather Honey?
Heather Honey is a monofloral honey variety made from the flowers of the heather plant, part of the Ericaceae family.
A low-growing perennial shrub that is native to Europe, it prefers dry acidic soils and has been used as national symbols in Scotland and Norway. In warmer locations such as Spain, heather is typically located on mountainous areas.
In fact, it can be argued that there are two distinct types of heather honey according to the heather species that bees use to make this variety.
On the one hand, there’s the Ling Heather Honey, which is derived from Calluna vulgaris. This species blooms in late summer (varying from late July to November, depending on the actual location). On the other hand, there’s the honey made from the Erica species, which presents an earlier and shorter blooming period (perhaps around 4 to 6 days).
Which are its organoleptic notes?
- Taste: the flavor of Heather Honey has been described as sweet and caramelized, where salty, malty and bitter notes are also present.
- Color: this honey variety’s color may vary depending on where and when it has been produced, going from brown and reddish to dark amber.
- Aroma: this honey presents a persistent woody, floral warm aroma. Intense and very persistent to leaf litter in autumn, humus, mushrooms.
- Crystallization: Heather Honey stands out for being a dense and viscous honey that crystallizes very quickly after packaging.
These particular organoleptic notes have turned Heather Honey into a favorite for some pharma, food supplement and retail companies
Heather honey benefits
Health benefits: uses in pharma formulas
This honey presents a high content in antioxidants, protein and polyphenols, which result in a number of health benefits that have been harnessed first by traditional, folk medicine. Just like the darker honeys, heather honey has a great deal of minerals.
Backed by scientific research, today’s pharma formulas also make the most of this honey variety, specially in the following two areas:
- Digestive issues, particularly those related to inflammation (reflux or gastritis problems)
- Its powerful anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties have made it stand out for a number of treatments targeting infections. Applied to wounds, cuts and burns, it helps promote moisture releases and thus dries skin, avoiding the growth of microbes and potential infections. The pharma industry has also experimented with Heather Honey’s capacities to alleviate heart diseases and cancer. It’s also been shown to provide anti-fungal activity.
Nutritional benefits: uses in food supplements
It is also a rich source of several nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and enzymes that have been linked with general wellness, a boost for the body’s defenses and osseous structures as well as digestive health.
As such, the food supplement industry has been quick to successfully incorporate Heather Honey products into their catalogs.
Companies looking to tap into consumer preferences for natural products and the current nutraceutical boom have found a number of diverse formulas for heather honey application, such as hepatic and digestion supplements, defense-building products and other vitamins and dietary supplements.
Heather Honey benefits have thus proven a great ally for a burgeoning vitamin industry, which is anticipated to grow from $129.60 billion in 2021 to $196.56 billion in 2028 at a rapid rate.
Sweetener: uses in food industry and retail
Again building from current consumer preferences for natural ingredients, honey in general and Heather Honey in particular have found a sweet spot in the food and retail industry.
In fact, the global honey market size doesn’t cease to grow: while it was valued at USD 8.58 billion in 2021, it is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.2% from 2022 to 2030, according to GrandView Market Research.
Heather Honey’s unique, characteristic taste and benefits have thus made a great contribution to many retailers, who make the most of honey as a natural, healthier sweetener than conventional sugar. Some successful applications so far have included gingerbread, sweets, roasted peanuts and cashews, yogurts, caramel pastes and honey-marinated ham.
Heather Honey vs Manuka Honey
Health-oriented consumers and brands have shared a common quest in recent years: the search for the superfood equivalent in honey varieties. As part of such pursuit, both Heather Honey and Manuka Honey stand out because of their antibacterial and antimicrobial agents.
Manuka Honey has represented a wise investment for companies looking to add a premium, health-oriented honey variety that has received increasing attention because of its extraordinary benefits and its exotic origin (it’s considered a rare treasure made from the manuka tree in New Zealand).
However, Heather Honey benefits don’t pale in comparison to Manuka Honey. In fact, this honey’s gel-like texture may hold the key to a high protein content, as well as antioxidant and manganese contents, key for certain organs such as pancreas, liver and kidney health, as well as bone formation.
You might be interested: Manuka honey, a complete guide
Wholesale honey suppliers: the lead to premium Heather Honey
When building a pharma, food supplement or retail catalog, companies should ensure they have access to high-quality raw honey. This is especially true in a booming but also saturated market such as the ones mentioned above, where companies should take every opportunity to make a difference and build powerful narratives based on ingredient quality, benefits and origin to attract consumers.
At Honey Green+ we work everyday to become a reliable natural ingredient supplier that companies can trust. Our work combines innovation and nature and understands natural ingredients as a source of value, aiming at discovering healthy alternatives with a positive impact on consumer health and nutrition and care for our environment.
As such, and through applying strict quality control in traceability, we help companies stay in touch with current consumer trends and behavior and continue evolving and updating their product portfolio at the same pace as changing market demands.
Our premium Heather Honey in bulk have been organically produced in Spain in the rough mountainous grounds throughout the Peninsula, especially in Galicia, Asturias, Castilla y León, Extremadura and Catalonia.
We offer conventional and organic Calluna and Erica Heather honey in 25 Kg, 300 Kg drums and 1.400 kg IBC.
Learn more about Honey Green+ and our commitment for high-quality natural ingredients by downloading our Corporate Presentation.