Agriculture and agri-food production in Alberta is big business, and it’s not just the traditional beef, wheat and canola in the limelight. One of the most celebrated and successful food products coming out of Alberta these days is honey—and we’re selling it to the world.
Over the last decade, global exports of honey grew almost five-fold. Sales have grown exponentially since 2011 (see graph), and last year smashed all records with exports totalling over $33 million.
The United States is by far the largest export market for Alberta’s honey. Last year we sold nearly $23 million south of the border. Given America’s enormous size and growing economy, our domestic producers should be able to increase their share of the US market—that is, barring some disruption to trade flows. The tone coming out of the White House lately suggests that Canada is not one of President Trump’s trade targets.
But the biggest increase over the last decade has to be Japan, where sales of the sticky stuff skyrocketed from $600 thousand to nearly $10 million. Japan also offers the potential to become a much larger export market. While the country’s population growth is flat and it’s economy tepid, it is still an enormous market of 126 million people—roughly three-and-a-half times the size of Canada. Alberta honey producers have plenty of room to grow their way in.