Understanding MGO Levels in Manuka Honey: A Buyer's Perspective

Understanding MGO Levels in Manuka Honey: A Buyer's Perspective

Methylglyoxal (MGO) is a key factor that sets Manuka honey apart from other types of honey. Understanding MGO levels can help you make informed choices when purchasing Manuka honey.

  • MGO is a naturally occurring organic nutrient found only in Manuka honey, known for its potent antibacterial properties
  • Higher MGO levels indicate stronger antimicrobial activity and a more robust, rich flavor
  • MGO levels are a critical indicator of Manuka honey's potency and authenticity
  • Manuka honey labels typically state MGO levels, such as MGO 100+, MGO 200+, MGO 600+, or MGO 850+
  • Choosing the right MGO level depends on your intended use, whether for culinary purposes or wellness benefits

MGO Levels and Their Significance

MGO Level


MGO 100+

Lower level, suitable for daily consumption and culinary use

MGO 200+

Medium level, balances beneficial nutrients and flavor intensity

MGO 600+

Higher potency, often chosen for its high levels of MGO

MGO 850+

Premium range, ideal for maximizing wellness benefits


Why do MGO levels matter in Manuka honey?

MGO levels matter in Manuka honey because they indicate the honey's potency and authenticity. Higher MGO levels mean stronger antibacterial properties and a more robust, rich flavor. MGO is a naturally occurring organic nutrient found only in Manuka honey, and its concentration is a critical factor in determining the honey's quality and potential wellness benefits. When purchasing Manuka honey, understanding MGO levels can help you make informed choices based on your intended use and desired potency.

Executive Summary:

  • Methylglyoxal (MGO) is a beneficial nutrient found in Manuka honey. The stronger the MGO, the higher the antibacterial effects.
  • MGO play a pivotal role in determining Manuka honey's authenticity and potency.
  • Decoding MGO levels on the label of your Manuka honey product can help you determine its potency and potential flavor.
  • When buying Manuka honey, it pays to make informed choices so that you get an authentic product each and every time.

MGO Levels in Manuka Honey: A Comprehensive Buyer's Guide

Manuka honey has marked its place in the culinary world and wellness spheres—captivating palettes and enriching wellness routines.

Originating from the nectar of the New Zealand native Manuka tea tree, this type of honey has been used for centuries by the indigenous Māori people. 

A key factor distinguishing Manuka honey from its counterparts is its unique Methylglyoxal (MGO) content—a compound acclaimed for its antimicrobial properties. 

However, for a potential buyer navigating the intricacies of Manuka honey for the first time, understanding MGO levels can be confusing. 

So, in this article, we address why MGO levels matter and everything else you should know about this unique Manuka honey nutrient. 

What is MGO?

Methylglyoxal (MGO) is a naturally occurring organic nutrient found in Manuka honey, known for its potent antibacterial properties. 

Surprisingly, this specific nutrient isn’t found in any other type of honey—just Manuka!

So, why is this the case? Well, Manuka honey is a monofloral honey. 

This means it comes from only one source of nectar, and this source is the Manuka tea tree. 

It’s the Manuka tea tree nectar that gives way to Manuka honey’s potent MGO content.

Simply put: The higher the concentration of MGO, the stronger the antimicrobial activity. 

Beyond its renowned antibacterial effects, MGO is acclaimed for its anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. Inevitably, this can support overall wellness in various ways.

Furthermore, MGO also plays a pivotal role in the honey’s taste profile, influencing its richness, depth, and overall flavor complexity. 

Why Do MGO Levels Matter?

The concentration of MGO in Manuka honey is a critical indicator of its potency. In fact, MGO levels are one of the ways in which Manukora certifies that its honey is real Manuka honey.

A higher concentration of MGO means higher antibacterial properties and a more robust and rich flavor.

Research further links MGO with supporting:

Varied MGO levels offer consumers a range of options to cater to their specific needs and preferences. 

Those seeking Manuka honey primarily for its gourmet appeal may opt for lower MGO concentrations, such as Manukora’s MGO 200+, since heating the honey may deplete its beneficial nutrients.

Conversely, individuals intending to utilize Manuka honey for its beneficial nutrients may be more inclined to choose higher MGO concentrations, such as Manukora’s MGO 850+ product.

Decoding MGO Labels for Buyers

Manuka honey jars often state their MGO levels, such as MGO 200+, MGO 600+, or  MGO 850+, right on the label. 

This serves as a quick reference indicating the honey’s potency and quality. Yet, for the average consumer, these numbers might not mean a whole lot. So, let’s take a closer look.

The MGO numbers are indicators of the Methylglyoxal (MGO) concentration of the honey, measured in mg/kg (milligrams per kilogram). 

A higher MGO number represents a higher concentration of Methylglyoxal.

Here’s a quick breakdown of common MGO levels and labels:

  • MGO 100+: This is considered a lower MGO level, suitable for daily consumption and culinary purposes. It offers a distinctive Manuka flavor without being overly intense.
  • MGO 200+: A medium level of MGO, this balances beneficial nutrients and flavor intensity. It is also often used for culinary purposes.
  • MGO 600+: This level indicates a higher potency and is often chosen for its high levels of MGO.
  • MGO 850+ and above: These are the premium ranges featuring high levels of MGO. This range is ideal for individuals looking to maximize the wellness benefits associated with this powerful nutrient.

If you’re still unsure what MGO level is right for you and your lifestyle, take the MGO quiz to uncover what level suits your needs the best.

Manukora's Commitment to Authentic MGO Labeling

Knowing the MGO levels of your Manuka honey is the first step toward determining its authenticity. It also indicates that the Manuka honey you purchase is of high quality.

At Manukora, every batch of our honey undergoes rigorous testing to ensure the accuracy of each MGO label. We grade each jar according to its MGO content. 

In fact, for any jar purchased at Manukora, you can find a QR code. Upon scanning this code, you can view the third-party testing results associated with MGO and other beneficial Manuka honey nutrients. 

This code also offers information regarding the beekeeper who harvested your honey, providing you with as much transparency as possible.

Making Informed Choices as a Buyer

In today’s world of fake news, making informed choices has never been more paramount. 

Understanding the MGO labels on each Manuka honey product you purchase ensures you get the right potency and quality you deserve.

With that in mind, here are a few more tips for selecting the right Manuka honey:

  • Assess your needs: Define your purpose for purchasing Manuka honey. If it’s for general wellness and culinary use, lower MGO levels like 100+ or 250+ may suffice. For more specific uses regarding Manuka honey’s beneficial nutrients, you may want to opt for higher MGO levels, such as 600+, 850+, or above.
  • Read each label carefully: Look for certifications that authenticate the honey’s origin and quality. Certifications ensure that the product has been independently tested and verified for its MGO content and other quality parameters.
  • Be aware of differing price points: Genuine, high-quality Manuka honey with high MGO levels tends to be more expensive due to its rarity and the intricate processes involved in its production and testing. 
  • Purchase your Manuka honey from a reputable brand: Do your due diligence. Research the brand before buying. This will help you make an informed choice and ensure you get high-quality Manuka honey every time.


    Understanding MGO levels in Manuka honey is not merely about purchasing a premium product; it’s about making a health-conscious choice that aligns with one's goals and lifestyle. 

    The pinnacle of honey indulgence with Manuka Honey, is a testament to our commitment to superior quality. 

    Our range doesn’t stop there; explore our trending products for more premium selections. 

    Understand the differences and benefits between Manuka Honey and Raw Honey to fully appreciate the unique characteristics of Manuka Honey.

    Genuine, high-quality Manuka honey, enriched with the right concentration of MGO, can be an excellent addition to any wellness routine. 

    Plus, the creamy texture and delicious flavor of this raw honey is incredibly hard to beat. 

    Learn more about Manuka honey by reading our blog, or explore Manukora’s range of Manuka honey products. 


    What is MGO, and why is it important in Mānuka honey?

    Methylglyoxal (MGO) is a naturally occurring organic nutrient found exclusively in Mānuka honey, known for its potent antibacterial properties. MGO is significant because it indicates the honey's authenticity and potency, contributing to its unique health benefits, such as supporting immune function and overall wellness.

    How do MGO levels affect the properties of Mānuka honey?

    MGO levels in Mānuka honey determine its antimicrobial activity and influence the honey's flavour profile. Higher MGO levels correlate with stronger antibacterial properties and a richer, more robust flavour, making the honey not only a delicious treat but also a beneficial addition to a health-conscious lifestyle.

    What should I consider when choosing the MGO level in Mānuka honey?

    The choice of MGO level in Mānuka honey should be based on your intended use. Lower MGO levels (e.g., MGO 100+) are suitable for daily consumption and culinary uses, providing a distinctive Mānuka flavor without being overly intense. Higher MGO levels (e.g., MGO 850+) are ideal for those looking to maximize the wellness benefits associated with Mānuka honey’s antibacterial properties.

    How can I verify the MGO level and authenticity of my Mānuka honey?

    To verify the MGO level and ensure the authenticity of Mānuka honey, look for the MGO rating on the honey’s label, such as MGO 100+, MGO 200+, etc. These labels are based on the concentration of methylglyoxal per kilogram and are verified through independent testing. Manukora provides QR codes on their jars, which you can scan to access detailed information about the honey’s MGO content and its source.

    Why are MGO levels labelled differently on Mānuka honey products?

    MGO levels are labelled to provide clear information on the concentration of methylglyoxal in the honey, measured in milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg). These labels help consumers understand the potency of the honey, allowing them to choose a product that meets their specific health and culinary needs. Higher numbers indicate a greater concentration of MGO, offering more significant health benefits.


    Methylglyoxal suppresses microglia inflammatory response through NRF2-IκBζ pathway - ScienceDirect

    In vitro evaluation of the antiviral activity of methylglyoxal against influenza B virus infection 

    Antimicrobial activity of honey in periodontal disease: a systematic review 

    In vitro Study of Anti-Helicobacter pylori Activity of Honey: A Systematic Review 

    Mānuka honey-derived methylglyoxal enhances microbial sensing by mucosal-associated invariant T cells - Food & Function (RSC Publishing)
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