What To Look For When Buying Manuka Honey

What To Look For When Buying Manuka Honey

Executive Summary:

  • When buying Manuka honey, look for its MGO rating, whether it is free of GMOs and pesticide sprays, and if it is ethically produced. 
  • The highest quality Manuka honey will be dark in color and rich in flavor. Its earthy taste should emulate a sticky, delicious caramel, unlike any other type of honey.
  • Each batch of Manukora Manuka honey includes a unique QR code with information about your honey, including its harvest location, MGO levels, and even the beekeeper behind the suit. 


What Should You Look for When Buying Manuka Honey?

Purchasing anything new can seem daunting — you want to ensure you’re getting your money's worth, and if it’s something new to you, you’re probably not an expert when it comes to spotting the best from the rest.

This can be especially true for Manuka honey products. Not all Manuka is created equal, so it’s important to know a few things before purchasing your first jar of this Honey with Superpowers™.  

As you may already be well-aware, Manuka honey is renowned for its nutrient potency, which support overall wellness in various ways. Yet, if you’re not buying the correct type of Manuka honey, it may not have all of the naturally occurring nutrients you were hoping for. So, let’s talk best practices for how to make sure you’re getting authentic Manuka honey every time!


What Makes Manuka Different? 

With Manuka honey increasingly gaining recognition in the health and nutrition world, you may wonder what makes Manuka different from store-bought honey.

At a high level, genuine Manuka honey is raw honey from New Zealand that has high levels of Methylglyoxal (MGO), a naturally occurring nutrient found only in Manuka nectar that possesses antibacterial properties. 

Our bees love the sweet juices from these blossoms, which makes the distinct flavor and texture of this nectar unique to Manuka honey. 


What Should I Look for in Manuka Honey?

As we said, not all Manuka is created equal; there are different grades of Manuka and various MGO ratings. To know you’re getting genuine, high-quality Manuka honey, here’s what you should look for. 

MGO Rating 

All authentic Manuka honey will have an MGO rating on its packaging; this number is arguably the most important variable for understanding your Manuka honey quality. 

The MGO rating signifies the potency of the Methylglyoxal levels (aka, the MGO) in the honey. MGO is one of the key bioactive compounds from the nectar of the Manuka tea tree. Other key bioactive nutrients such as Leptosperin also rise in line with MGO. Thus, the higher the MGO rating, the stronger the honey’s unique taste and beneficial properties will be. 

Authentic Manuka will also include DHA and other markers determined by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

You can also look for the UMF honey certification. The UMF certification is directly related to the MGO levels in the Manuka, and also tests for other compounds mentioned above such as DHA and Leptosperin.

At Manukora, we decided to grade our honey using MGO instead of UMF to provide the most clarity for our customers. All of the other compounds that are tested in the UMF system are also tested by us and available on our QR trace system found on every jar.

Does All Raw Honey Have MGO? 

Most people are under the impression their honey will have antibacterial properties whether it's Manuka or not; however, that’s not quite the case.

All high quality honey has some antibacterial properties due to naturally produced hydrogen peroxide; however, Manuka honey contains a high potency of antibacterial nutrients due to the MGO content which is not found in any other honeys. 

The MGO comes straight from the highly active nectar of the Manuka flower which is only found in remote areas of New Zealand. 

Most honey you’ll buy at the store is generally processed and pasteurized, which can affect the honey's concentration of nutrients. 

What about raw local honey? Well, while raw honey in and of itself can be good for you, the raw honey at your local farmer’s market likely isn’t Manuka honey, and only Manuka honey offers MGO.

Certified Glyphosate Residue-Free

Glyphosate is a herbicide and crop desiccant sprayed on plants to kill unwanted weeds and other plant growth. Treating certain areas with glyphosate prevents the growth of natural or native weeds and plants.

Our Manuka forests are extremely precious to us; we ensure there are no sprays anywhere near them, i.e. glyphosate residue-free. In addition to this, we test every single batch we produce for glyphosate residue and make those third party tests available on our QR trace technology for peace of mind.

At Manukora, we believe there’s no need for herbicide intervention when the honey bees work in their natural environment. 

Third-Party Tested 

Each Manukora Manuka honey product is sent to an independent third-party lab to undergo rigorous testing. These tests verify the MGO levels and potency of the Manuka while ensuring all other necessary compounds are accounted for. Additionally, these tests are how we can double-check that there are no contaminants, like the pesticide we just talked about above. 

To ensure your Manuka is authentic, it should have independent lab results proving its levels of beneficial nutrients unique to Manuka. 


Each batch of Manukora Manuka honey is curated with immense care. You can see for yourself when you scan the QR code provided on each of our products. This unique code contains information about your honey — its harvest location, MGO levels, and even the beekeeper behind the suit. 

We want you to feel confident in what you put in your body and integrate into your daily routine, so we don’t gatekeep any part of our process. 

When beekeeping is done right, you want everyone to see the powers of Mother Nature, and what a healthy, non-disrupted environment can accomplish. 

Ethically Produced 

Bees play key roles in the entire ecosystem. Even if you’re not a beekeeper, there are ways you can help protect the lives of Earth’s bees, and one of those ways is buying ethically produced honey.

Look for companies that are advocates for ethical beekeeping practices. For example, a few of the things we do to practice ethical beekeeping include leaving enough honey for the bees to enjoy through winter when they take a break from making honey, and ensuring we’re not unnecessarily moving the hives and causing extra stress. 

Taste and Texture

While ensuring purity and potency are of high importance when evaluating Manuka honey, it is also very important to consider taste and texture. One of the joys of top-quality Manuka is the delicious experience. 

The highest quality Manuka honey will be dark in color and rich in flavor. Its thick and creamy consistency will leave you wanting it by the spoonful. Its earthy taste should emulate a sticky, delicious caramel, unlike any other type of honey. 

While the MGO rating affects the potency, it also plays a significant role in its taste and texture. Higher-rated Manuka honey will have a richer taste and a thicker and creamier texture. Anything above a 200 MGO rating will have a uniquely distinct flavor, with highly regarded wellness benefits to match. 

Our ethical beekeeping practices allow us to delicately harvest and pack the honey to ensure a raw, creamy caramel taste that our customers absolutely love. 

You can check out our breakdown on what Manuka tastes like here!

Non-GMO Verified

All Manukora Manuka honey is non-GMO verified. To keep our honey-making process top-notch, our bees and forests remain our top priority. 

We work with Mother Nature, not against her. We don’t believe in quick fixes or implementing unnatural and unethical practices to increase our honey production or efficiency. The bees and trees work at their own pace — as nature intends. 

Before purchasing your first batch of Manuka honey, ensure it's non-GMO verified; even if it’s a little trickier to find, it’s undoubtedly worth it — and we bet the bees would agree. 

You can check out this article to learn more about Project Non-GMO


The Bottom Line 

When it comes to what you should look for when buying Manuka honey, the answer ultimately comes down to authenticity. 

To experience the richness of authentic Manuka honey, exploring Manukora's trending products is a great start. They offer a variety of choices, such as the convenient and portable MGO 850 10-pack stick packets, perfect for on-the-go indulgence.

For those who prefer precise measurements, the Manukora dose spoon ensures the perfect serving every time. Delving deeper into the world of Manuka honey, you can explore creative ways of savoring it through ideas for enjoying Manuka honey and learn about its energy-boosting properties.

Furthermore, the benefits of Manuka honey for immunity support highlight its multifaceted advantages, making it a valuable addition to any wellness routine.

Authentic Manuka honey is unique in the flavor and nutrients it contains. The highest quality authentic Manuka will be produced ethically and sustainably, because happy bees make for the most delicious honey. 

Let Manukora make the search effortless — explore our authentic, MGO-rated, ethically and sustainably produced New Zealand Manuka honey here


What is the significance of the MGO rating when buying Manuka honey?

The MGO rating on Manuka honey represents the potency of Methylglyoxal levels, a key bioactive compound with antibacterial properties unique to Manuka honey. Higher MGO ratings indicate stronger antibacterial potency and a richer, unique taste.

Why is non-GMO and pesticide-free certification important for Manuka honey?

Non-GMO and pesticide-free certifications ensure that the honey is produced in a natural environment without genetic modifications or harmful chemical sprays, thus preserving the natural qualities and health benefits of Manuka honey.

How can I verify the authenticity and quality of Manuka honey?

Authentic Manuka honey should have a traceability system, like a QR code, which provides information about its harvest location, MGO levels, and beekeeper details. Additionally, independent third-party lab tests should confirm the MGO levels and absence of contaminants.

What makes Manuka honey different from regular store-bought honey?

Manuka honey, specifically from New Zealand, contains high levels of Methylglyoxal (MGO) and other unique compounds like Leptosperin and DHA, giving it distinctive antibacterial properties and a unique flavor profile compared to regular honey.

Why is ethically produced Manuka honey important?

Ethical production ensures the sustainability of bee populations and their natural habitats. Practices like leaving enough honey for bees during winter and minimizing hive stress contribute to the production of high-quality honey and the overall health of the ecosystem.


Glyphosate General Fact Sheet | npic

Manukora Manuka Honey is Now Non-GMO Project Verified | nongmoproject

Kinetics of the conversion of dihydroxyacetone to methylglyoxal in New Zealand mānuka honey: Part II--Model systems | Pubmed

Antibacterial activity of Manuka honey and its components: An overview | PMC

Oligosaccharides Isolated from MGO™ Manuka Honey Inhibit the Adhesion of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia Coli O157:H7 and Staphylococcus Aureus to Human HT-29 cells | mdpi

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