A Look at Local: Honey, Greens, Elk & More!

September 29, 2014
Consumer Flavor Ingredients Trends

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Buying local is such a hot topic, the Trend Team is diving in again! This time, our trend excursions to Heritage Prairie Farms, Standard Market and Mariano’s are the landscape for our local trend spotting. (You can find our dessert tour report focused on local in our Resource Center on our website, or drop us a line and we’ll be happy to send it to you.)

Local Pride

Consumers have come to expect and demand visibility into the foods they purchase in stores and in restaurants. They want to know where it’s from, who grew it and how it was grown. They want their purchases to support and bolster their communities. Indeed, local pride has emerged as one of the most important reasons for consumers to go local.

Local at a Glance

  • Fresher products is one of the key reasons that consumer purchase locally.

  • Lower prices are the #1 factor that may encourage increased local food purchases.

  • 53% of consumers purchase local foods weekly.

  • 100 miles is how the majority of consumers define local.

  • Has roots in 2005 when four San Francisco women drew a circle with a 100-mile radius from the city with the mission to buy, cook and eat only that from within that 'food shed.'


Heritage Prairie Farms is a USDA Organic certified, sustainable farm in Elburn, IL, not far from our office in Geneva. They sell their produce and honey to folks straight from the farm, at farmers’ markets and stores like Whole Foods. We had a company event at the farm and that gave us an opportunity to explore their farm store, the Heritage Prairie Market, and see the local food products for sale there. Here’s a closer look at a couple items we saw:


First thing I noticed was the rows of adorable honey bears. I love honey bears! 


As I head over to take a closer look, movement catches my eye to the right. It’s a bee hive! They have a hive built into the side of the store with a glass back so you can peek in on the honey bees hard at work. If that’s not making a connection with your food, I don’t know what is! 


Making a connection with consumers by showing the real people behind the products is another trend we’ve seen in products on the grocery shelves, and it was here in the farm store, too. This transparency and “realness” ties nicely with consumer desires for local, natural and simplicity, as well. Here at the farm store a printed sheet with a information and a photograph introduced us to one of the beekeepers behind the honey bears. It shows us, “Yes, this is real honey right from the hive! You’re supporting an actual bee keeper — and his name is Al!” 


Brom’s Honey in nearby LaFox, IL, also sells honey at the farm store. I was totally interested in the variety of flavors, as I don’t usually see flavored honey at the grocery store. You can sample the different flavors, and I went for the honey and cinnamon. I had an idea of snickerdoodle cinnamon in my mind, but I was met with a taste surprise when the honey hit my tongue. It was Red Hot type cinnamon flavor, not Bakers cinnamon. This is a terrific example of why flavor descriptors are so important when working on developing a new product.




“Where does your meat come from?” asks a handwritten sign hanging over a freezer. Well, if you slide open the door and select the Lamb Maple Breakfast Sausage, you’re supporting Mint Creek Farm in Stelle, IL, near Kankakee, about an hour and a half south of Chicago. Their website tagline is: “Grass-fed meats raised on certified organic prairie pastures.”Or perhaps an Elk Bratwurst from Freedom Sausage Company in Earlville, IL, about an hour west of Joliet, is more to your taste.




Greens & Gills: Chicago-Grown Microgreens

This is an interesting find! Check out their company description: “Greens & Gills is your premiere Chicago source for local produce grown indoors using aquaponic farming techniques. Our indoor aquaponic growing systems create local produce and local jobs in a sustainable farming environment. in what was (once) a vacant industrial space.”

Mama's Nuts

“Handmade in Chicago” is front and center on their packaging and Mama’s Nuts come in interesting flavors such as Mocha Stout Almond and Gingersnap. Their website even has a “Shop Local” tab where you can find local stores that carry their products.

Local Folks Foods Hot Sauce

The LocalFolks Foods began with products created from ingredients grown on Steve and Anita Spencer’s seventh-generation family farm in Sheridan, IN. It now partners with family farms, farm cooperatives, and processors throughout the region, we help recreate and strengthen Midwest food networks and provide new opportunities for family farms as we continue to add to our line of natural and wholesome products.






Rare Bird Preserves, Oak Park, IL

“The nature of Rare Bird stems from our seasonal, local and sustainably grown fruit,” states their website. Meyer Lemon Curd, Passionfruit and Apple Caramel were available during our trip to Mariano’s, but a variety of other flavors are seen as seasonal options on their site.

Seasonal Options

  • Cranberry Clementine

  • Peach Lavender

  • Fig Earl Grey

  • Blackberry Lime

  • Kumquat Terragon

  • Honey

  • Pineapple Rum

  • Pink Peppercorn

  • Quince Maple Rasin

  • Pluot Vanilla Grains

Sweet Beginnings Beelove Honey, North Lawndale Neighborhood, Chicago

The west side of Chicago is home to Sweet Beginnings’ beehives and the source of their urban honey and honeybased products. The organization provides jobs to people with criminal histories, helping them establish work histories and gain skill. Employees “ care for the bees and hives, harvest honey, make beelove products, package and ship products, track inventory, fill product orders, and sell at retail outlets and special events.” In addition to spotting beelove urban honey at Mariano’s we saw beelove honey-based skin care products at Z & H Market Café in Hyde Park.




Let FONA’s market insight and research experts translate these trends into product category ideas for your brand. They can help you with concept and flavor pipeline development, ideation, consumer studies and white space analysis to pinpoint opportunities in the market. Our flavor and product development experts are also at your service to help meet the labeling and flavor profile needs for your products to capitalize on this consumer trend. We understand how to mesh the complexities of flavor with your brand development, technical requirements and regulatory needs to deliver a complete taste solution. From concept to manufacturing, we’re here every step of the way. Contact our Sales Service Department at 630.578.8600 to request a flavor sample or visit www.fona.com.

Download the full report here!