new zealand honey jars

Why is Manuka Honey so Expensive? Is It Worth the Price?

Honey is nature's perfect way to sweeten foods. It contains vitamins, minerals, and other natural compounds that make it one of the healthiest of all foods on the planet. Mānuka honey is a very special type of honey that is produced in only one area of the world — New Zealand. The health benefits and rich flavor make it one of the most unique and popular kinds of honey in the world, this golden elixir is derived from the nectar of the Mānuka plant's delicate flowers. Let’s dive into the factors that contribute to the premium price tag of Mānuka honey and explore whether it's truly worth the investment.

The Manuka Flower

One of the primary reasons behind the expense of Mānuka honey is the limited geographical area where the Mānuka plant thrives. While this hardy plant does grow in other parts of the world, it is New Zealand that provides the ideal conditions for it to flourish. The unique combination of soil, climate and environmental factors in this region contributes to the exceptional quality of Mānuka honey. The Mānuka plant's striking blossoms, which are part of the tea tree family, attract honey bees in abundance, leading to the production of honey that carries the distinctive flavor profile characteristic of Mānuka honey. Manuka only flowers 4 to 6 weeks every year and can be affected by weather events, meaning that it is a limited and relatively small supply.

honey bee on a mānuka flower

UMF Grading

Unique Mānuka Factor, or UMF, plays a pivotal role in determining the quality and pricing of Mānuka honey. The UMF Honey Association, an organization dedicated to upholding the standards of Mānuka honey, has established a grading system to assess the honey's purity and potency, but also its authenticity, freshness and guarantee the potency for the duration of the shelf life. Mānuka honey can receive UMF ratings such as 5+, 10+, 15+, 20+ or higher. To achieve UMF rating, the honey must meet rigorous standards, including specific chemical markers and medicinal properties. The higher the grade, the more potent the honey. Consequently, higher-rated Mānuka honey commands a premium price due to its enhanced quality and potential health benefits. 

To allow ease of comparison, UMF brands also state their MGO content (for example, UMF5+ = MGO83+). It is important to note that UMF also guarantees that the honey has been produced and packed in New Zealand to the very strict New Zealand Mānuka regulations. MGO grading can be applied to honey packed in other parts of the world and will likely not meet the Mānuka Honey standards.

honey bees on honeycomb

How Does Mānuka Honey Compare to Other Kinds of Honey?

Mānuka honey is darker and richer than most other types of honey. It offers a much sharper taste that is considered a type of signature. What truly elevates Mānuka honey, however, is its exceptional antibacterial properties. While other kinds of honey offer vitamins, minerals, and propolis, Mānuka honey goes above and beyond offering additional health benefits and high levels of methylglyoxal. These properties make it a valuable addition to the world of natural medicine. 

Health Benefits Beyond Sweetness

Mānuka honey is not merely a delicious natural sweetener, it also offers a range of health benefits. Its powerful antimicrobial properties make it an effective topical treatment for wounds, promoting faster healing. In fact, Mānuka honey has been employed in combating infections, including the challenging Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Additionally, medicinal grade Mānuka honey has shown promise as an immune booster and digestive aid. While some of its wound-healing properties may not survive digestion, the honey's abundant vitamins, minerals, and velvety texture provide comfort for sore throats and coughs. Unlike regular honey, “Mānuka honey contains methylglyoxal (MG), a powerful antibacterial compound. The MGO is created from the conversion of dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a compound found in the nectar of the Mānuka flowers.” Mānuka honey is known to also have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiviral properties.

The higher the UMF, the higher the potency, which means the higher the price tag will be. 

honey spilling off spoon into cup

Overall Cost

It's undeniable that Mānuka honey comes at a higher price point compared to other honey varieties. A 250-gram container of Mānuka honey typically costs around $20 USD or more, depending on its UMF rating and brand. The apparent costliness of Mānuka honey can be attributed to several factors, including the limited geographical range of Mānuka flowers and the intensive efforts required by growers to maximize honey production efficiency. Mānuka honey's high price is also a reflection of the stringent quality control measures and certification standards. To ensure that a jar of honey contains the promised level of UMF/MGO and meets other quality benchmarks, producers invest in rigorous testing and authentication procedures. Consumers are willing to pay a premium for the assurance of genuine and high-quality Mānuka honey.

honey bee pollinating purple flower

Taylor Pass Commitment to Quality

At Taylor Pass Honey, we understand the value of Mānuka honey and its significance to health-conscious consumers. Our commitment to providing the highest quality Mānuka honey drives us to continually refine our processes and ensure the well-being of our hives and environment. When you invest in one of our honey jars, you can be assured that you are receiving the utmost value for every dollar spent. We take pride in delivering the very best Mānuka honey that embodies the essence of this exceptional natural wonder.

The myriad of health benefits alone justifies Mānuka honey's premium price tag. Its exclusivity, marked by the geographical limitations of Mānuka flowers, the stringent UMF grading system, and its remarkable antibacterial properties, all contribute to its elevated cost. While Mānuka honey may be more expensive than other honey varieties, its renowned wellness properties and distinctive flavor make it a worthwhile investment for those seeking the best in natural sweetness and wellness support. So, if you're looking for a honey that's not only sweet but also offers a host of health advantages, Mānuka honey is certainly worth considering.


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