What Do They Sell?
What do our reporters sell, you ask? Well, take a look at the chart above. This is the 7th year we’ve done this so the patterns are fairly predictable, but over the years we have had reporter turnovers, business expansions and contractions, droughts and other things…it’s an always changing world out there, and to a degree this shows that. For instance and for starters, the percent selling candles this year is the lowest ever. Not by much, but fewer than a third are selling candles. Has the market changed, is wax difficult to get because of a poor honey crop? Well, take a look at bulk wax sellers, that’s wholesale lots – way down this year, as are retail sellers, that is wax blocks. Something’s going on with beeswax this year it seems. A couple of months ago I discussed the new dynamic in the bee business was raising bees for those who were pollinating. But that doesn’t seem to be the direction for this group of reporters, looking at those who sell queens, packages, nucs or supplies. So what’s going on?
If there’s no wax, what about honey? You have to have honey to make wax, so looking there tells us…Drat! We changed that category this year to make it a little more clear, and of course it doesn’t tell us what we want to know. Yet. For the past 6 years we’ve asked about selling ‘liquid’ honey, along with comb, cremed and chunk. This year, we broke that liquid figure into retail, wholesale’, and bulk sales, to get a better picture of the type of sales our reporters are making.
Some, of course sell all three. Our survey asks more questions than we show here, but this time we think we should share some of this. 21% sell some of their honey bulk, along with some retail sales (7%), wholesale (2%), and all three (12%). Only 3% are wholesale only, but 37% are both wholesale and retail, 12% are wholesale, retail and bulk. 35% are strictly retail, but 72% are retail and wholesale, and 79% are wholesale, retail and bulk sales, while fully 91% do some of all of these. Overall, this comes to 21% sell bulk, 91% sell retail and 54% sell wholesale. Considering that we only produce 20% of the honey we consume that is measured by some government agency somewhere and isn’t captured in home, farm market or work sales…they are missing, a guess here maybe, just under half of the honey produced in the U.S. that is sold in the U.S. That changes how we should look at U. S. honey consumption. Is the amount we consume that’s produced here actually double what we’ve been figuring?