As consumers’ awareness around health and wellbeing becomes a mainstream concern, nutritional supplements have become increasingly known and acknowledged. The trend comes hand in hand for a preference for natural ingredients.
This combination has put honey at the heart of the nutritional supplements sector, as a natural sweetener to diverse types of product formulations.
Here’s a look at the potential of honey as part of the growing list of supplements ingredients.
What are nutritional supplements
Nutritional supplements represent a set of products intended to complement a balanced diet and enhance people’s access to nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids…).
As we’ve mentioned above, the nutritional supplements industry has experienced a marked growth in recent years, driven by consumers’ increasing interest and concern in wellbeing and the products able to enhance it. In fact, Fortune Business Insights foresees this market growing from $71.81 billion in 2021 to $128.64 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 8.68%.
Honey as an ingredient in nutritional supplements: characteristics and benefits
Honey is a sweet, viscous substance made by bees from the nectar of flowers, and accessible to humans as it’s then collected by beekeepers from the beehives.
Characteristics of honey
High-quality, organic honey presents the following characteristics:
- As sweet as sucrose with less calories
- Presents antioxidant activity
- Natural source of phenolic compounds
- Natural source of biologically active substances, including diverse vitamins, minerals and other organic compounds
- Antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal agent
- Prebiotic & probiotic agent
- Versatile. The different honey varieties present a diversity of colors, intensity and flavors, such as Manuka Honey, Forest Honey, Heather Honey, Chestnut Honey, Lavender Honey, Linden Honey or Rosemary Honey.
- Natural source of inulin
- Natural source of fructooligosaccharides (FOS)
Benefits of honey as ingredient for nutritional supplements
- Extends product’s shelf life, helps locking moisture in and generates a fresher finished product
- Reduces heart diseases risk factors
- Lowers blood cholesterol levels
- Reduces blood pressure
- Lowers triglycerides
- Acts as a natural and safe cough suppressant
- Generates an steady flow of body energy
- Enriches the aroma of finished products
The most common types of honey in food supplement formulations
With its mild taste and neutral aroma, Acacia Honey is one of the most popular honey varieties and one of the pharma and food supplement industries’ favorites.
It is the liquid honey par excellence and it does not favor crystallization. As it presents a very light color, the final formulation color isn’t altered.
Eucalyptus Honey is produced by bees that pollinate the blossoms of the eucalyptus tree, which means it’s considered as a mono-flower honey variety.
While the taste, appearance and aroma of Eucalyptus Honey varies depending on some production factors (including the specific climatic conditions that were present during its production) this honey variety has an unusual, unmistakable, intense and very persistent damp wood aroma.
Eucalyptus Honey is particularly treasured for fighting colds, the flu and respiratory illnesses, as it has a direct effect on improving expectoration, minimizing excess mucus, alleviating nasal congestion and acting as a natural cough suppressant.
Thyme honey is one of the most sought after honeys in recent years due to its great medicinal attributes, as it can help fight infections due to its anti-inflammatory, immuno-activating and prebiotic effect.
This honey variety comes in two color groups: the one produced in spring presents a light amber tone, while the one generated in late spring or summer tends to be amber, occasionally with slightly reddish tones.
It also presents a very characteristic, intense and persistent floral aroma with a distinctive phenolic component; additionally, it’s got a sweet taste with clear acidic and slightly salty undertones and rarely crystallizes.
Manuka Honey is considered a type of premium honey because of its outstanding medicinal properties, as well as the rigid controls and standards over its production in New Zealand, its land of origin.
Experts consider Manuka Honey as the best natural antibiotic and having some potent immune-stimulatory properties that are able to minimize bacteria. It has also proven to soothe sore throats and respiratory infections. All these benefits have boosted the use of Manuka Honey in the Food Supplements Industry.
One of the main differences between monofloral and polyfloral honey is that the latter does not have a particularly predominant pollen content of a flower. This, in turn, means the particular properties of certain flowers cannot be certainly attributed by polyfloral honey.
As such, polyfloral honey can have a multitude of great health benefits, and differentiated characteristics in terms of color and taste depending on the region where it is harvested.
Which types of nutritional supplements include honey?
Honey is 82% composed of carbohydrates – and almost all of this is simple sugars: fructose; sucrose; glucose; maltose. Honey also contains 18 amino acids in small quantities, while protein constitutes only about 0.3% of the contents in honey. Honey also contains trace amounts of B vitamins, vitamin C, some minerals such as magnesium, selenium, phosphorus and zinc. This wide array of nutritional benefits guarantees a key spot for honey ingredients in the nutritional supplements industry, where top healthcare claims include products that:
- Contain vitamins and dietary supplements
- Act as decongestants, cough, cold & flu relief
- Sleep aids
- Provide digestive and detoxifying treatments
Nutritional supplements launches in 2022
So far this year, more than 50 new launches have been registered at European level in the nutritional supplement category containing honey.
This included the following categories:
- Organic Sleep Food Supplement: acacia honey and its sweetening power was among the ingredients of this organic formulation, along with Melissa officinalis Passionflower, Californian yellow poppy and valerian extract.
- Pure Royal Jelly Capsules: this formulation mixes acacia honey and royal jelly together with wheat germ oil and Vitamin E, accompanied with a surface treatment agent (beeswax).
- Dietary Supplement with Manuka Honey: this honey variety is at the heart of successful digestive and detoxifying Treatments, accompanied by the same quantity of marshmallow.
- Manuka Propolis Throat Tablets: this treatment is meant to relieve cough and hoarseness and provides effective protection for the mouth and throat. Ingredients in this supplement include manuka honey powder, propolis extract and a special hydrogel complex form, able to store moisture and generate a protective layer within the mouth and throat.
- Cough Relief Syrup: described as a herbal syrup for cough and sore throat, it is formulated with propolis and manuka honey, natural thyme honey, thyme, ivy, eucalyptus, vitamin C, zinc and probiotics.
- Organic Propolis Mouth Spray for Sensitive and Irritated Throat: this represents an hydroalcoholic extract of organic poplar propolis and organic eucalyptus honey.
- Dry Cough Liquid Sticks: this formula is meant to relieve dry and excessive coughs while protecting mucous membranes. Among its ingredients are water, wildflower honey, fructose, sorbitol, dry plantain extract and mallow glycerol extract.
Sales formats to buy honey wholesale
Nutritional supplement companies looking to incorporate honey to their catalog should look for reliable partners able to supply them with premium-quality wholesale honey.
Typical sale formats for bulk honey include 25 kg drums, 300 kg drums and 1.400 kg IBC. Additionally, bulk honey is available in conventional and organic formats.
If you’re interested in adding honey to your catalog, at HoneyGreen we can help you. We work to help companies incorporate premium-quality natural ingredients and develop successful product formulations that match consumers’ current interests in natural products.
Learn more by downloading our Manuka honey free ebook or our Corporate Presentation, or get in touch with our team to get advice and a first-hand experience of how we can help you, including a personalized budget prevision.