Bee-Free Honey: Benefits and Environmental Impact
Since the 1940s, the honey bee population has been in decline worldwide. In North America and Europe alone, it’s decreased by an estimated 50%. It’s a serious concern: in the U.S., honey bee pollination contributes about $1.4 billion to the economy every year through its work on crops that produce fruits, nuts, vegetables, and seeds for human consumption.
Since bees transfer pollen between flowers of different plants, they’re a crucial part of ecosystem services like plant reproduction. Pollinating insects like bees are also critical in natural ecosystems where flowering plants represent 80% of species diversity. Without these insects, many food crops would not be able to grow or reproduce effectively enough to sustain life on earth.
So what do we do? Thankfully, there’s new hope on the horizon in the form of bee-free honey. Read on to learn more about the benefits of bee-free honey on the environment and on your health.
What is bee-free honey, and what makes it different from bee honey?
Bee-free honey or what we like to call it; Bee-Mindful Hunnie...is made from apples! Yes, apples!
Honey is probably the product more frequently mistaken as vegan-friendly. There is a common misconception that honey bees make their honey especially for us, but this couldn't be further from the truth.
Honey is made by bees for bees, and their health can be sacrificed when it is harvested by humans.
Honey is the energy source of bees; without it they would starve. Honey also provides essential nutrients during poorer weather and the winter months. The honey bee, the genus of bee used in commercial honey production, will visit up to 1500 flowers in order to collect enough nectar to fill its ‘honey stomach’; a second, separate stomach in which enzymes begin to break down the nectar into honey. After returning to the hive, this is regurgitated and chewed by ‘house bees’ to complete the honey-making process. The hive works as a collective to provide each member with an adequate supply, each bee producing just a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime: significantly less than most people would expect. Honey is fundamental to the hive’s wellbeing.
Conventional beekeepers aim to harvest the maximum amount of honey, with high honey yields being viewed as a mark of success. When farmers remove honey from a hive, they replace it with a sugar substitute which is significantly worse for the bees’ health since it lacks the essential micro-nutrients of honey.
In conventional beekeeping, honey bees are specifically bred to increase productivity. This selective breeding narrows the population gene pool and increases susceptibility to disease and large-scale die-offs. Diseases are also caused by importing different species of bees for use in hives.
These diseases are then spread to thousands of other pollinators we and other animals rely on, disputing the common myth that honey production is good for our environment.
In addition, hives can be culled post-harvest to keep farmer costs down. Queen bees often have their wings clipped by beekeepers to prevent them leaving the hive to produce a new colony elsewhere, which would decrease productivity and lessen profit.
Honey’s popularity shows no sign of slowing. The honey industry, like many other commercial industries, is profit-driven where the welfare of the bees is often secondary to commercial gain.
Mass breeding of honeybees affects the populations of other competing nectar-foraging insects, including other bees. Overwhelmed by the ever-inflating quantities of farmed bees, the numbers of native bumblebees have declined.
The importing of honey into Canada also increases our carbon footprint through the emissions associated with transport. Of the honey consumed in North America, 95% of it is imported.
Unlike bees, humans can thrive without honey in their diets. Luckily, there are a whole host of readily-available vegan alternatives for those with a sweet tooth. Date syrup, maple syrup, molasses, butterscotch syrup, golden syrup, agave nectar, and you guessed it...apple hunnie!! All viable options, whether you need a product for baking, cooking, as a sweetener for drinks, or to eat a spoon of out of the jar at the end of a long day.
If you wish to support bees, please do not buy beeswax or honey.
What are the benefits of bee-free honey?
There are many! Here are a few of the benefits of bee-free honey that set it apart:
Helping bee populations
Possibly the biggest benefit of bee-free honey is that it can help bee populations rebound from their drastic drop, as it doesn’t waste any bee pollen or kill any bees during the production process.
Bee-free honey is a great way to enjoy the taste of honey, while knowing you’re consuming a cruelty-free alternative to honey. Because bee-free honeys are vegan, it means that bee colonies and bees are completely protected and not impacted in any way by the honey’s production. On the other hand, bee honey is often harvested using bees as the medium of transport for its pollen and nectar from flower to jar.
Apple Hunnie is produced with apples which are more cost effective to use than harvesting bees.
Bee-free honey is growing in popularity and even becoming more popular than bee honey. In fact, its promise of “bee freedom” makes for a great selling point with retailers and consumers alike. The environmental benefits of bee-free honey vs regular bee-pollinated or harvested honey have drawn rave reviews from environmentalists everywhere.
Of course, we know that taste also matters when you’re choosing a bee-free honey. In our totally unbiased opinion ;), you'll prefer the taste of our Bee-Mindful Hunnie more than any bee honey. We know you’ll love it: and you can feel good knowing that you are being mindful of bees while enjoying it.
Looking for more information on plant-based foods? Check out our other blogs here. Don’t forget to follow us on social @Mindful_Fud, and share this with your friends and family so they can explore plant-based living too.
Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.