What's the Difference? Farm Fresh Honey vs. Store Bought

Did you know the honey you buy on the grocery store shelf might not be real honey? Or that honey from apiarists has more health benefits? After purchasing some honey from our neighbors, I dug into what the difference is between honey purchased at a farm versus honey purchased in a store. The results surprised me.

Store Bought Might Not Be Real

In a news article taken from Food Safety News, a company which tests products so consumers know what we are actually buying, they found many honey bottles sold on grocery store shelves had no pollen. Honey producers may spend their money to ultrafilter their honey including removing the pollen.  However, the other worry is that without pollen, there might not be actual honey in the bottle. 

Food Safety News found:

  • 76 percent of samples bought at groceries had all the pollen removed, These were stores like TOP Food, Safeway, Giant Eagle, QFC, Kroger, Metro Market, Harris Teeter, A&P, Stop & Shop and King Soopers.
  • 100 percent of the honey sampled from drugstores like Walgreens, Rite-Aid and CVS Pharmacy had no pollen.
  • 77 percent of the honey sampled from big box stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target and H-E-B had the pollen filtered out.
  • 100 percent of the honey packaged in the small individual service portions from Smucker, McDonald’s and KFC had the pollen removed.
  • Bryant found that every one of the samples Food Safety News bought at farmers markets, co-ops and “natural” stores like PCC and Trader Joe’s had the full, anticipated, amount of pollen.

Local Honey Used for Allergies

Store-bought honey can come from almost anywhere in the world, with Mexico, Canada, China, and Brazil as the most popular.  If you are using honey to help with seasonal colds and allergies, the honey needs to come from bees that frequent the flowers close to where you actually live, or else they are not effective in treating those issues.  I found this really fascinating!

Store-Bought Honey May Contain Sugars or Additives

In addition, some "regular" honey on the shelves will say on the label that they contain sugar or added sweeteners, such as high fructose corn syrup.  But even those labeled as "honey" may still not be 100 percent honey.  Studies show that there may be brown rice syrup hidden in that store-bought jar of "raw honey".

Health Benefits of Farm Honey

Raw honey is strained and placed immediately in bottles.  It has been used for the last 8,000 years for its various health benefits.  Store bought honey, on the other hand, might not because pasteurization exposes the honey to high temperatures, it may destroy or remove honey’s natural properties.

Raw honey has more than store-bought: anti-inflammatory effects, anti-cancer and antiulcer action, antifungal effects, B vitamins, vitamins C and E, magnesium, potassium, and beneficial enzymes. Bee pollen, often filtered out of store-bought raw honey, can contribute to honey’s natural ability to heal wounds and kill bacteria


The honey we have purchased for you comes directly across the street from our neighbors.  They are trust-worthy people who are only making the best raw honey.  We are so excited to add it to our own family recipes as a natural sweetener.  Hopefully you will try some and let us know what you think!