The gradual disappearance of bear-shaped bottles of honey in grocery stores could be a dismal sign.
Honey prices have been rising, production is down and now the most popular icon cherished by lovers of the sweet stuff is in danger of being extinct, according to the National Honey Board.
Grocery store shelves harbor imposters, and a closer look at their labels show they’re not 100% honey as one might expect from the bear-shaped squeeze bottle.
Many of the fakes are cheaper alternatives like agave- and xylitol-based honey substitutes and syrups that contain only about 10% real honey, according to the trade group.
The price of real honey was up as much as 38% from 2008 to 2009, according to some accounts.
In response to competition from other sweeteners, the Honey Board has launched a program to “save the endangered honey bear.”
But it’s not just our honey supply that’s in danger. Reports have been circulating of a worldwide honey shortage possibly due to widespread disease and pesticide use causing bees to die off en masse, some scientists say.
What’s more, 35% of the world’s food supply and much of the U.S. food supply depends on pollination by bees, horticultural researchers say.
There have also been concerns that a lack of necessary phosphorus could be threatening the world’s food supply as well, as MainStreet previously reported.
So, while the Honey Board’s campaign may seem laughable, bee deaths from pesticides and a looming phosphorus shortage due to mining and use in commercial food production could be a serious argument for consuming more natural foods instead of easy-to-eat, processed packaged foods.