Is All Manuka Honey Equal? Understanding Quality Differences

Is All Manuka Honey Equal? Understanding Quality Differences
Michael Bell

Michael Bell

6 minutes

Executive Summary

  • Not all Manuka honey is the same, and the quality depends on various factors, like the origin, production practices, and harvesting methods.
  • Higher quality Manuka honey offers more potential health benefits.
  • You can determine the quality of Manuka honey by looking at the MGO rating.


Manuka honey offers many potential health benefits and is a delicious addition to any routine. However, with so many different types of Manuka honey available, you have to be extra attentive in your search, as, unfortunately, not all Manuka honey is equal. On the bright side, you can identify quality differences with a trained eye.

Knowing how to comb through your options will make shopping for Manuka honey much easier and allow you to find an authentic, high-quality product that you will love. This guide will give you an insight into understanding the quality differences of Manuka honey so you can find the right honey to help you boost your daily routine.


What Factors Influence the Quality of Manuka Honey?

Manuka is a unique super honey, but its true quality can vary depending on how it is produced. There are multiple factors that work in tandem to influence the quality of Manuka honey.


The Origin

Genuine Manuka honey only comes from one source—the flowers of the Manuka tea tree, Leptospermum scoparium, native to New Zealand. The highest quality and purest honey comes from bees that only collect nectar from Manuka flowers in the most remote forests of New Zealand, instead of a blend of many different flowers.

The Manuka tree only blossoms for about two to six weeks each year—during this time, bees collect the nectar from these flowers and produce a honey unlike any other. Companies then have to be ready to harvest the honey in this short window while using practices that maintain the naturally high quality.


Beekeeping Practices

Highly quality beekeeping practices lead to significantly superior Manuka honey. These practices prioritize the health of bees and allow these precious creatures to thrive. In a stress-free environment where bees are cared for, they are able to forage through the remote Manuka forests in New Zealand and produce the highest quality Honey With Superpowers™.

Examples of these practices include: 

  • Not overstocking or shifting the beehives
  • Carefully selecting only the most remote Manuka forests, allowing the best beekeepers to ensure their honey is free from glyphosate and other environmental toxins
  • Taking extra time and care to allow the bees to finish their honeycomb process 
  • Leaving enough honey on the frames for the bees to feed on during winter 
  • Special techniques such as simple straining and low-temperature creaming to remove any impurities and allow the honey to be packaged raw without reducing quality

With mindful practices, you can enjoy 100% raw and delicious honey without having to worry about impurities or low quality.


Understanding the Unique MGO Grading System

To truly identify the best Manuka honey, you’ll want to understand what the methylglyoxal (MGO) rating is and why it matters. The MGO rating is the primary measurement when considering the quality of a batch of Manuka honey.

MGO is a naturally occurring antibacterial compound and one of the key active properties from the Manuka tea tree nectar. It is unique to Manuka, and a higher MGO means higher antibacterial potency.

You can determine the right MGO rating for you with the help of our Manukora MGO quiz.


How To Identify High-Quality Manuka Honey

No, not all Manuka honey is the same, but when you have the knowledge to spot the best honey, you can take your daily routine to the next level. To identify high-quality Manuka honey, you should:

  • Verify the origin - High-quality Manuka honey comes only from Manuka flowers in the remote forests of New Zealand. An authentic, quality product should clearly state that it is made in New Zealand. Some jars of honey will even have a traceability system that allows you to see the origin of the honey and how it stands up to quality tests.
  • Check for testing – To ensure authenticity in Manuka honey, the New Zealand government requires that Manuka honey meets strict standards. This testing should include the MGO test and should be conducted by an independent laboratory approved by the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI).
  • Check the rating – High-quality Manuka honey has a considerable amount of MGO and a rating that demonstrates its authenticity. You can choose from MGO ratings that can range anywhere from 50 to over 1,000, depending on your preferred taste and potency.

Another credible system is the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) grading system. The UMF grading system was developed by the UMF Association and measures multiple markers to ensure that Manuka is genuine. 


The Manukora Difference

Producing high-quality Manuka honey relies on strict standards and an unwavering commitment to thoughtful production practices. At Manukora, we take several steps to ensure the highest quality product. Altogether, we:

  • Pioneered and are consistently improving our unique Art of Ethical Beekeeping
  • Maintain minimal processing in our harvesting practices, creating a 100% raw super honey
  • Send our honey to an independent lab to verify authenticity, purity, and quality
  • Produce our honey in the remote forests of New Zealand
  • Highlight the unique MGO rating on each jar of honey
  • Provide complete transparency of our practices through our easy-to-use QR trace system

When comparing Manukora honey to others, one thing to keep in mind is that we do not include UMF on our labels to avoid confusion—instead, we focus on MGO ratings. Although we highlight our MGO ratings on all of our jars of honey and do not include the UMF, we still take advanced testing measures to ensure purity and quality and are still UMF certified as a company.

Our third-party testing assesses all of the same factors as UMF tests do. Our tests even go a step further, assessing additional factors, like glyphosate residue. All of these tests and their results are available for customers to review by scanning the QR code.


Find Quality Manuka Honey

Not all Manuka honey is the same, but with a trained eye, you can more easily spot quality differences and identify the ideal option for you. By looking at the product origin, MGO rating, and production practices, you can ensure you select only the best Manuka honey.

When it comes to Manuka honey, the details matter. At Manukora, we're proud to offer our Manuka Honey MGO 1000, a testament to our commitment to quality. Each jar in our Manuka honey collection is produced with the highest standards in mind.

For those starting their Manuka honey journey, our Manuka Honey MGO 200 is an excellent choice. To deepen your understanding of our product, explore the differences between Manuka honey and raw honey. For culinary enthusiasts, our guide on cooking with Manuka honey offers valuable insights.

Discover the benefits of honey and lemon for health and wellness, and get inspired by our suggestions on what to eat with honey.

Here at Manukora, we take many steps to ensure our super honey is of the highest quality, maintaining thoughtful beekeeping practices and going above and beyond to create a delicious Honey With Superpowers™. Explore our collection of Manuka honey at Manukora.




Identification and quantification of methylglyoxal as the dominant antibacterial constituent of Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) honeys from New Zealand | PMC

Ensuring mānuka honey is authentic | NZ Government

Unique Mānuka Factor (UMF) Grading System Explained | UMF
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