Why Is Manuka Honey So Expensive?

Why Is Manuka Honey So Expensive?

Executive Summary:

  • Manuka honey contains nutrients that support our health in various ways, including boosting our immune system and providing digestive support.
  • Unlike highly processed commercial honey, Manuka honey is raw, unpasteurized, non-GMO project certified, antibiotic-free, and ethically produced.
  • The pasteurization process in regular honey compromises its beneficial nutrients.
  • Manuka honey is rarer than regular store-bought honey due to a short production window and extensive testing and classification processes for authentication.
  • Overall, the cost of Manuka honey is higher due to its beneficial nutrients, unique flavor, indulgent texture, and sustainable production methods.


Manuka Honey: One of the World’s Most Expensive Honey and Why?

Manuka honey is not only indulgently delicious, but the nutrients in it support our health in various ways. This can include everything from boosting our immune system to providing digestive support.

The sweet nectar known as Manuka isn’t anything like highly processed commercial honey. This is why we’re not going to find it for just a few dollars in the grocery store. That’s like comparing a rock to a gem.

So, why is Manuka honey more expensive than regular honey? Well, there are more than a few reasons. So, let’s take a closer look at why it costs more and why this premium price tag is entirely worthwhile.


What Makes Manuka Honey So Expensive?

We’re used to paying under $10 dollars for regular store-bought honey. Yet, once we understand how beneficial Manuka honey can be, we might be willing to up the ante. Aside from its uniquely delicious flavor and indulgent texture, Manuka honey contains nutrients that give way to natural cleansing properties and various health benefits

Here are a few of the characteristics that make Manukora Manuka honey ultra-special: 

  • Raw and unpasteurized
  • Non-GMO project certified
  • Glyphosate residue-free certified
  • Antibiotic-free
  • Ethically produced
  • MGO certified 
  • Monofloral
  • Traceable to the source through a unique QR code
  • From the Golden Triangle of New Zealand

Below, we’ll dive a little deeper into why each of these traits contributes to a higher cost for an ultimately higher-quality and more satisfying type of honey. 


What Does It Mean For Honey To Be “Raw”?

Raw honey and commercial honey are usually not synonymous; raw honey is kept in its natural state, whereas commercial honey is virtually always highly processed. 

When it comes to honey, you get what you pay for. In other words, it’s no wonder commercially produced honey is easier on the ol’ wallet. Simply put, we’re not getting the immense benefits that raw honey has to offer — in fact, most commercial honey isn’t really much more than another syrupy sweetener.

How Does Honey Pasteurization Work? 

The pasteurization process can bring varying degrees of harm to the honey. Unpasteurized honey isn’t like unpasteurized milk or juice. Consuming unpasteurized honey isn’t a health risk (of course, excluding the fact that you shouldn’t feed any kind of honey to infants under the age of one). 

The only reason some types of honey are pasteurized is to achieve a uniform color and texture and prevent possible fermentation or granulation (hardening).

Regular honey is pasteurized by heating it to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and rapidly cooling it. Honey is extremely sensitive to heat. Thus, this pasteurization process compromises the beneficial nutrients within honey, including the ones that contribute to its ability to support wellness

Most honey is pasteurized to help extend shelf life and achieve what’s become its standardized appearance. 

With that said, when beekeeping is done correctly and ethically, with love and respect for the bees and their natural process, the pasteurization process is unnecessary and detrimental to the quality of the honey. 

For example, many commercial honey manufacturers actively dehydrate the honey they prematurely extract from the hive to speed up the overall process. 

When bees are left alone to work at their own pace, they work to dehydrate the honey as part of their natural process. In contrast, not allowing the bees to work at their natural pace results in premature honey removal and unnatural beekeeping practices. 

At Manukora, we believe in working with the bees, not against them, which is why we let the bees finish their dehydration process before we harvest — and which is why our Manuka honey is so rich, creamy, and decadent and made without heat or processing. 


What Makes Manuka Honey Rare?

Undeniably, Manuka honey is much rarer than regular store-bought honey, and there are two good reasons for this. First and foremost, Manuka honey has a short production window. Secondly, to ensure authentic Manuka honey, extensive testing and classification processes must be completed. So, let’s look at these two reasons in more detail.

Limited Production Window

Manuka honey is produced from the Leptospermum scoparium tree (also known as the Manuka bush, tea tree, or simply the Manuka plant), native to remote regions of New Zealand. 

The Manuka tea tree can only thrive in this specific climate and only flowers for two to six weeks a year. This means the nectar supply is limited. 

Honey-making is all-natural, but sometimes Mother Nature has different plans, meaning other variables can shorten the already small harvesting window. Strong winds and cold weather conditions can determine whether the tea trees will bloom — no blossoms mean no way for the bees to pollinate Manuka flowers. 

Considering Manuka honey can only be produced for about one month each year, we get a little more insight into why this honey with superpowers is so valuable. The process of Manuka honey production and harvesting can be very delicate. When not done correctly, it can harm the bees and their hive.

Extensive Authentication Process

The Ministry of Primary Industries sees monofloral Manuka honey as one of New Zealand's high-value exports, which is why they try their best to preserve the integrity of Manuka honey. The MPI implements extensive testing and classification processes for all Manuka honey products.

With saturated markets, any product can fall victim to counterfeits; Manuka honey is no different. When you’re paying top dollar for what’s being marketed as the rarest and most high-quality honey out there, you want to have peace of mind that you’re getting what’s promised.

At Manukora, our honey is sent to a third-party lab for testing to determine a few key factors: its MGO (methylglyoxal) levels, DHA (or dihydroxyacetone) levels, and Leptosperin content. All of these aspects confirm that it is truly a monofloral honey (meaning it only comes from the flower of the Manuka tea tree we mentioned earlier). Testing these specific compounds ensures authenticity as well as potency.

Without these extensive testing protocols, it would be easy to produce and market non-genuine Manuka honey. 

While all Manuka honey has nutrients that support optimal wellness, not all will have the same MGO levels (or strength). The higher the UMF grade, the more potent the product is. 

For example, you can get Manuka honey with low levels of MGO or very high levels (like our MGO 850+ Manuka honey). The most significant advantages generally become apparent when a minimum of 200+ MGO is present.


What Is the Golden Triangle of New Zealand?

As you might already know, genuine Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is produced only in the Parma and Reggio regions in Italy. This is because these specific regions host the cows that eat the unique locally grown forage that makes the unique taste and texture of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Interestingly, authentic Manuka honey has similarly specific origins.

While any genuine Manuka honey must come from New Zealand, the highest quality Manuka honey comes from a remote part of the forest called the Golden Triangle. The triangle spans from the top of the north island to the west coast and the east cape. When your Manuka honey comes from this area, you know you’re getting the best of the best.


What Is Ethical Beekeeping? 

Honey bees are integral to creating Manuka honey — the trees, bees, wind, and sun work in harmony to produce this sweet, amber, and velvety goodness. Honey is a beautiful example of what teamwork and Mother Nature can accomplish. 

Similar to how the environment can affect the harvest window, the method of harvest and the overall style of beekeeping can affect the welfare of the bees.

While bees are tough, that’s not to say they work a risk-free job. Honey bees are under constant threat from their external environment, which makes taking care of the bees through ethical beekeeping practices a top priority.

Ethical beekeeping is, unfortunately, seldom practiced in commercially produced honey. Yet, with all of the benefits provided by nutrients in genuine, sustainably harvested Manuka honey, ethical beekeeping is non-negotiable at Manukora. 

Our bees dehydrate their honey themselves and on their own time; we don’t believe in rushing them. Then, when the honey is finally in its perfect, natural, raw state, we remove just enough so that our bees have a good amount left over to last them through the winter. 

At Manukora, we also never use sprays or antibiotics in our honey-making process. Alongside letting the bees finish their work, we ensure every practice is ethical and sustainable. We work with Mother Nature, not against her. 

On top of that, we don’t move around the hives, as is common in commercial pollination practices. The remote location further keeps the bees safely away from pesticides and other human-derived pollutants, so they can comfortably work through the season without disruption.

Simply put: we put the bees first — which is the main reason why New Zealand is home to one of the healthiest bee populations in the world.


What Does Traceability Mean?

Not all Manuka honey has state-of-the-art traceability, but Manukora’s does; we think it’s important for you to know as much about your product as we do.

This is why we’ve developed a special tracking system you can find on the packaging of all Manukora honey products. All you have to do is scan the QR code on your product, and you’ll be taken to a web page with every bit of information available about your specific jar of honey. 

You can trace your honey back to the exact hive it was harvested from, all the tests it went through (with results to prove it), and you can even meet the beekeeper who handled your honey with care. 


Why Is Manuka Honey Good for You?

On top of rarity and ethical beekeeping practices, Manuka honey earns its high price tag by containing nutrients that support overall wellness. So, let’s take a closer look at some of these incredible benefits.

MGO’s Antibacterial Properties

Unlike other types of honey, Manuka has high levels of MGO, which is an organic nutrient that offers antibacterial properties. This naturally occurring nutrient supports the immune system, helping you stay in tip-top shape.

Natural Prebiotics 

Manuka honey has a range of natural prebiotics that can support gut health and your digestive system. One of the best ways to start your day off is by eating a spoonful of Manuka honey on an empty stomach — your gut will thank you later. 


Manuka honey has naturally occurring antioxidants that help combat environmental stressors. Because Manukora's Manuka honey isn't processed or pasteurized, it retains these antioxidants to support your well-being.

Naturally Soothing 

Manuka honey is packed full of nutrients that contain natural soothing properties. In contrast, commercial honey loses these nutrients during the pasteurization process. 

With the cold season approaching, keeping high MGO-level Manuka honey stocked in your cabinet isn’t a bad idea. Manuka honey is one of the best natural remedies to keep on hand when you just aren’t quite feeling your best and your wellness needs a little pick-me-up.


The Grand Total

Considering Manuka honey’s indulgent sensory offerings, a rarity in the wild, potent supportive wellness benefits, and various authentication methods, it’s no wonder it may cost a bit more than your average commercially-produced, store-bought honey. 

At Manukora, we offer an exceptional range of Manuka honey, where each spoonful, perhaps measured with our Manukora Dose Spoon, delivers a burst of flavor and wellness benefits. Discover the difference between Manuka and raw honey and learn cooking tips to best use our honey without losing its unique properties.

Did you know that you can even freeze honey? Find more interesting facts and tips in our August Sweet Talks with Manukora blog. For those who are constantly on the move, our MGO 850 10-Pack Stick Packets offer a convenient way to enjoy Manuka honey anytime, anywhere.

Not all honey is created equal, and Manukora’s Manuka honey is some of the highest quality honey you can get your hands on — it’s Honey With Superpowers™, and with as little as a teaspoon a day, you’ll see why. 

Explore our Manuka honey here, or click here to learn more about all things Manuka honey



Why is Manuka honey so expensive?

Manuka honey is expensive due to its limited production, strict authentication process, health benefits, and ethical and sustainable harvesting practices.

Why is Manuka honey good for you?

Manuka honey is beneficial due to its high levels of MGO, offering antibacterial properties, natural prebiotics, antioxidants, and its raw and soothing nature.

What makes Manuka honey one of the most expensive honey?

Manuka honey is considered one of the most expensive honey due to its rarity, stringent authentication methods, health benefits, and ethical and sustainable harvesting practices.

What are the health benefits of Manuka honey?

Manuka honey contains nutrients that are known for their antibacterial properties, ability to support gut health, and their rich antioxidant content. It also has natural soothing properties.



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

Testing Manuka honey is authentic | NZ Government

The Manuka Tree and Its Benefits | Rural Design

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