Why Is Manuka Honey So Expensive?

Manuka honey is widely known for being more ACTIVE than other types of honey. It is produced from the Leptospermum Scoparium tree, commonly known as Manuka, which is only native to Australia and New Zealand. Manuka, in fact, is the Māori word for “tea-tree”.

Among the tea trees – Leptospermum – there are a few species that produce various types of Manuka, i.e. at least 3-6 types of Leptospermum are producing active nectar.

In accordance with the New Zealand standards, we need to check the MGO level in a NZ laboratory to ensure we are within the right levels of so-called “active honey”. MGO stands for “Methyl Glyoxal”, which is a natural occurrence of a chemical that enables the honey to be an “active germ killer”.

Yet, we must remember that most RAW honeys will have the capacity to be a germ killer, but we don’t test each one of them in order to find which chemical exists in each that helps the honey become a germ killer.

The following table outlines the Manuka Honey UMF to MGO ratio, where:

  • UMF stands for Unique Manuka Factor
  • MGO stands for Methyl Glyoxal milligrams per 1Kg of honey.


UMF 5+83
UMF 10+263
UMF 12+356
UMF 15+514
UMF 18+696
UMF 20+829

Other than New Zealand, Manuka bushes can also be found in mainland Australia. There are about 70 types or more of Leptospermum – Tea tree bushes – and a few more from the Melaleuca Species defined by beekeepers as “Tea tree” because the leaves have the same perfume when broken by hand, although this is a common mistake.

New Zealand accounts for the most significant portion of production, with exports worth 300 Million NZ dollars. In Australia, tea tree honey used to be considered low-graded honey, as flavours are not always that great compared to other kinds of honey. Australia and Argentina have planted large areas with Leptospermum, and it is expected that Manuka honey will reach every household that likes the tea tree honey at a reasonable price. All honey goes into high viscosity form and becomes solid if treated as RAW honey, yet the Manuka is creamier and more complex to extract than other types of honey.

So why does the Manuka honey cost so much?

As beekeepers, all we can see with our own eyes is that people believe in the medicinal capabilities of the Tea Tree honey and are willing to pay more for it.

Yet, we do have other honey types, not formally known as medicinal, with good effect on winter colds such as cough and flu. We have seen few kinds of honey with good capacity to heal burns or sunburns and also ease allergies to some people.

Validation of medicinal properties is a long process and might go over hundreds of types of honey in order to define what each one of them can do for us.

If you like our extensive range of honey or found that it had a medicinal impact on you, we would like to hear from you, as we will aim to research the qualities in that specific honey.

Enjoy our honey.

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