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Mānuka Honey NZ

A Rare Harvest Mānuka Honey recently went on sale at Harrods priced at £2595 (approx. NZD $5000) for a 230 gm jar!

This rare batch of mānuka honey that soon ran out of stock at one of the world’s most famous department stores makes New Zealand Mānuka Honey a Premium Food Product globally.

Technical overview of product

Product UMF™ MGO
ID Unique Mānuka Factor Methylglyoxal
Rare Harvest 33 1,700+

This blog helps explain some of the technical terms that we might come across on a label, such as UMF and MGO, what these actually mean, along with some truly unique kiwi stories, and how you can use this knowledge to make a more informed choice the next time you purchase a jar of Mānuka Honey in New Zealand or anywhere on the globe.

Rare Harvest’s Unique Mānuka Honey Story

So what is Mānuka Honey?

Mānuka honey is produced by bees collecting nectar from the mānuka plant (Leptospermum scoparium) that grows throughout New Zealand.

How can you determine the authenticity of the expensive Mānuka Honey you buy?

The New Zealand Government through the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) finalised a scientific definition that can be used to authenticate New Zealand mānuka honey.

Tests to authenticate mānuka honey

All honey labelled as mānuka for export must be tested by an MPI-recognised laboratory to make sure it meets the new mānuka honey definition.

  • The mānuka honey definition is made up of a combination of 5 attributes (4 chemicals from nectar and 1 DNA marker from mānuka pollen).

Mānuka Honey: A Science Based Definition – Source MPI

Addition requirements include:

  • Improvements to how bee products are traced through the supply chain
  • Ensuring New Zealand bee products comply with importing country requirements

How and why this helps global consumers?

The science definition for mānuka honey is essential to ensure:

  • Consumers around the world are confident they’re getting genuine mānuka honey.
  • Overseas regulators have confidence in the assurances we give them about New Zealand mānuka honey.
  • Help the continued growth of our export honey industry and the premium prices New Zealand bee products command overseas.

This also allows the industry to:

  • Separate mānuka honey from other honey types
  • Identify honey as either monofloral or multifloral mānuka honey.

Guide to New Zealand Honey Labelling – Source MPI

This Business Insider video explains: why mānuka honey is so expensive?

Comvita explains their Mānuka Honey story from Hive to Table 

Manuka Honey UMF Factor

UMF Identification

1. Label

The label claim that it is genuine Mānuka Honey

2. Number

This represents the unique signature compounds characteristic of this honey which ensure purity and quality.

These include the key markers of

  • Leptosperin
  • Dihydroxyacetone – DHA
  • Methylglyoxal


Unique Mānuka Factor (UMF) Testing – Grading Mānuka Honey

Mānuka Honey UMF Grade and Marker Values

Mānuka Honey UMF Grades and Marker Values

To be considered potent enough to be therapeutic, mānuka honey needs a minimum rating of 10 UMF.

Source: Webmd

What Mānuka Honey is best – A simple table compares a UMF & MGO label on a jar of Mānuka Honey:

Product UMF™ MGO
Unique Mānuka Factor – Indicates three components Methylglyoxal – Indicates just this one component
UMF 5 Jar
  • Hydroxymethylfurfural: 40
  • Leptosperin: 100
  • Methylglyoxal: 83
UMF 10 Jar
  • Hydroxymethylfurfural: 40
  • Leptosperin: 100
  • Methylglyoxal: 263
UMF 20 Jar
  • Hydroxymethylfurfural: 40
  • Leptosperin: 100
  • Methylglyoxal: 829
Rare Earth UMF 31
  • Hydroxymethylfurfural: 40
  • Leptosperin: 100
  • Methylglyoxal: 1,700+


Intrigued and want to know more about the business side?

Storage of Honey: RMP Template – Source MPI

Processing Bee Products: RMP Template – Source MPI

Investment opportunities in the New Zealand Honey industry – MBIE

Exporting New Zealand Honey – FAQs

What’s Honey Good For?

This Presentation at FDA explains one such use

Therapeutic Mānuka Honey  (Some Peer-Reviewed Research)

Science and Characterising of Mānuka Honey MPI

Technical Criteria for identifying Mānuka Honey MPI

Chemical Characterisation Compounds in Mānuka Honey MPI

Mānuka Honey DNA Test MPI

Mānuka Honey Classification Methodology Peer Review MPI

Technical Information: APN General Export-Requirements for Bee Products MPI

Technical: Tutin Compliance Guide MPI

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