Mother Nature has her medicines and manuka honey is one of them. You don’t actually have to use prescription or over-the-counter drugs for minor ailments like sore throat, a cough, or even your acne problem.
This is because manuka honey contains a high quantity of methylglyoxal, a compound which is rich in antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Manuka honey comes from New Zealand but there are so many counterfeits and fake manuka honey out in the market.
This article is our way of helping you differentiate the genuine from the fake. These are the five best manuka honey brands in the market. We also reveal what to keep in mind when you are shopping for authentic manuka honey.
Before you start reading, consider the following comparison table of the five brands.
|Honey Brand||Check on Amazon|
|Comvita||View One of their Manuka Honeys|
|Manukora||View One of their Honeys|
|Kiva||View One of their Honeys|
|Steens||View One of their Honeys|
|Tahi||View One of their Honeys|
-Founded in 1974
-Has over 40,000 hives
-UMFHA member: Licence # 1019
-Traceable to source
Comvita was founded back in 1974 by Claude Stratford and Alan BougenThe vision was to connect people to the goodness of nature and help them improve their health. Manuka honey is rich in medicinal value.
To date, Comvita is still going strong in pursuit of that vision: doing research on – and selecting – natural ingredient sources which they tend carefully and harvest.
All true manuka honey brands are from New Zealand. However, there is more fake than genuine manuka honey in the market, and a lot of this fake honey doesn’t come from New Zealand. Two things about Comvita manuka honey will remove any doubt about Comvita being a New Zealand brand.
First of all, Comvita manuka honey always features a UMFTM rating. This indicates that the honey has been tested and certified by the UMF Honey Association, an organization in charge of setting and governing manuka honey standards in New Zealand.
Secondly, all Comvita manuka honey is traceable to its source. That means you can trace it back to the hive it came from. You can verify that it is indeed authentic New Zealand Manuka honey.
Comvita has over 40,000 hives. The brand gives back to the community through sustainability initiatives such as the Trees for Bees Research program.
Specimen: Comvita UMF 20+.
-Long experience in the business
-Access to large supply of honey: 40,000 hives
-Traceable to source
-UMFHA member: Licence # 2228
-Founded in 1998
-Packaging plant located in Matamata, New Zealand
-Software-tracks every jar
-Trust Codes platform
The word Manukora comes from two word: Manuka and Ora. Manuka is the maori word for the New Zealand tea tree (Leptospermum scoparium) which produces the manuka flower whose nectar bees feed on to make manuka honey. Ora is a maori word which means life, health, and vitality.
Manukora is a New Zealand manuka honey brand that has been producing honey since 1998. Its packaging plant is located in Matamata, at the foot of the Kaimai Ranges. The brand is New Zealand owned and operated.
Manukora cares about its bees and environmental sustainability. It therefore takes good care of its bees all year round and locates its bee colonies in remote areas where the bees can forage on an abundant supply of nectar and pollen.
Manukora’s honey has the New Zealand government approved quality mark: the UMF rating, which is developed and governed by the UMF Honey Association. The UMFHA is a group of New Zealand beekeepers, packers, distributors, and exporters, and Manukora is a member.
To ensure customers are not duped by counterfeits, every jar of manukora honey comes with a code which a customer can scan to ascertain the honey’s authenticity after purchasing. Manukora software tracks each jar and shut downs counterfeit products at once.
The brand also has a Trust Codes platform which gives customers access to the lab analysis of each unique batch: transparency.
Specimen: Manukora UMF 20+.
-Takes good care of its bees
-Unique codes for verifying authenticity
-Trust Codes platform builds trust
-UMFHA member: Licence # 2240
-Variety of superfoods
-Sources ingredients direct from local farmers
The Kiva brand deals in a variety of superfoods, not just manuka honey. It also sells acai berry powder, cacao powder, chia seeds, camu camu berry powder, maca powder, moringa leaf powder, maqui berry powder, and others.
Kiva sources the ingredients for its products directly from local farmers who practice eco-friendly and sustainable farming methods.
Kiva ensures that the foods maintain their flavor and nutritional value by only processing them minimally. Their processing methods include using freeze-drying and low temperature processing. As a result, the ingredients are as natural as possible, without artificial flavors, sugars, or fillers.
Furthermore, all Kiva superfoods and spices are rigorously tested by a third party, ensuring they are nutritious, delicious, and safe. The foods are also non-GMO verified.
Specimen: Kiva UMF 20+.
-Ingredients direct from local farmers
-Farmers who practice sustainable, eco-friendly methods
-Rigorous third-party testing
-Non-GMO verified foods
-Manuka honey is not the focus
-UMFHA member: Licence # 2204
-Hive tracker technology
-Whole Comb extraction
Steens’ Hive Tracker technology enables the company to monitor its hives and improve how it does business. The technology tracks each hive and its components. Furthermore, the technology enables you to determine that the honey indeed comes from New Zealand because each Steens manuka honey pots feature a trace code which helps customers track the honey back to the New Zealand region where it was harvested.
The conventional “prick and spin” technique of extracting honey is rather wasteful. Steens improves on this by using Whole CombTM extraction, a method which maximizes the nutritional properties of the entire honeycomb. This involves scraping out crystallized honey, bee bread pollen, and wax from the comb – wax is separated out.
Furthermore, Steens only minimally processes its honey once and does not do any secondary processing.
Most honeys are heated to high temperatures in the production process. This has its benefits, but unfortunately it also destroys some enzymatic properties and reduces the flavor and aroma of honey. Steens maintains temperatures that occur naturally in beehives.
Specimen: Steens UMF 24+.
-Traceable to source
-Able to monitor its hives
-High nutritional value due to Whole comb extraction
-Unpasteurized, raw honey
Tahi provides manuka honey that has nothing artificial added to it, including water and sugar. The honey is natural and retains a lot of its nutritional value – it is unpasteurized. Furthermore, Tahi cares about its bees and the environment.
-UMFHA member: Licence # 2035
-Located in New Zealand’s North Island
Tahi is based in a remote corner of New Zealand’s North Island. Their honey is not overheated or pasteurized; neither is anything artificial added to it. It has no GMOS, GE, water, added sugar, or chemicals.
Tahi cares about its bees and does not do anything that can harm them. For instance, it doesn’t use pollen traps because those tend to damage the delicate wings of bees. In addition it does not collect bee venom, since that can harm and even kill bees. Tahi leaves a box of honey per hive to ensure the bees stay fed during winter.
Tahi plants as much as 20,000 manuka trees every year, in addition to 10,000 other plant species. The brand has converted a 780-acre piece of land in Northaland from a cattle farm into an internationally recognized nature sanctuary.
Specimen: Tahi UMF 15+.
-Natural honey, no additives
-Cares for and takes good care of its bees
Ensure the manuka honey you are buying features a UMF seal on the jar. This is the only acceptable seal of authenticity where manuka honey is concerned.
If you are purchasing manuka honey for its medicinal value, ensure the honey has a rating of at least UMF 10+ as that is the minimum grade it should attain to be considered therapeutic.
True manuka honey comes from New Zealand, but substandard or counterfeit honey could also slap the “New Zealand honey” label on their jar.
Ensure the honey you are buying has a traceability system – a trace code on the jar that enables you to verify where the honey was harvested, whether it is truly New Zealand manuka honey.
Go for honey that does not have a load of additives. Check the ingredients to see what has been added to the honey. Ensure that the honey is as natural as possible.
Though pasteurization has its advantages, it also tends to reduce the vitality, nutritional value, flavor, and aroma of honey.
On the other hand, pasteurization ensures honey doesn’t ferment. You should weigh your pros and cons and decide which type you prefer: pasteurized or unpasteurized honey.
There is a lot of fake manuka honey out in the market. You can tell it’s fake because it doesn’t have the UMF-certification. Fake honey does not have a traceability system so you can’t verify if it really does come from New Zealand. The five brands revealed here are the real deal.
But which one is your first choice?
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