Manuka Honey is specifically crafted from bees foraging on nectar of the New Zealand Manuka trees. To get Manuka Honey, beekeepers must move their hives into areas where the Manuka is the predominant vegetation type when the Manuka is starting to flower, typically spring to early summer depending on the region within New Zealand.
We watch closely as the season approaches and time the placement of their hives to maximize their exposure to the Manuka nectar flow. Even with all of this work, it’s still impossible to get 100% pure Manuka Honey out of a hive because there will inevitably be some non-Manuka nectar that the bees will get into. While fascinating creatures, the bees don’t listen very well, and we can’t tell them to only work the Manuka flowers.
Despite that, there are some techniques you can use when harvesting the honey to segregate honey coming from different areas of the hive to increase the concentration of Manuka Honey in a given batch. As experienced Manuka Honey producers with our own extraction operation, we’re quite good at maximizing our results.
It's not hard to find someone singing the praises of Manuka Honey these days. Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson credit it for their great complexions, while tennis star Novak Djokovic says it gives him a boost on the court.
There’s good reason for that. Doctors and researchers (as far back as 30 years ago) have found that Manuka Honey has unique bioactive properties not found in traditional honey. Scientists believe the bioactive properties support and boost the body’s own immune system, resulting in benefits ranging from fighting off the common cold, to wound care treatment for antibiotic resistant skin infections.
While taste and color are our initial indicators, we need a scientific result. For that, we send samples from each of our batches to independent laboratories in New Zealand, and they test the honey for dietary Methylglyoxal.
Dietary Methylglyoxal, abbreviated as MG or MGO, is a naturally occurring organic compound found in high concentrations in Manuka Honey. Test results are given as mg/kg, and the concentration of MG directly correlates to the health and wellness benefits of Manuka Honey. Typical tests come back anywhere from 100–250 mg/kg at the time of harvest, and then this concentration changes over time as a precursor organic compound in the honey (dihydroxyacetone, or DHA) converts to MG.
We label our honey with the actual MG results and make our test results publicly available (example here: ( Click here for 2018 Batch 5 - MG 550 Lab Report ).
When you see anything else on a label of honey purporting to be Manuka honey, you should steer well clear. Examples of what continues to show up on labels include: “Active”, “Bio-Active”, “Total Activity ”, “K-Factor ” plus a number typically ranging from 5+ to 20+. When labeled this way, the company is trying to intentionally mislead the consumer into thinking they are getting a high MG (or legitimate UMF) honey when in reality they are typically getting a very low concentration, or low activity (i.e. low MG value) honey.
With unscrupulous sellers trying to pass-off counterfeit New Zealand honey, you'd be wise to ask where your honey comes from. Bees & Trees works with Oritain, an independent New Zealand laboratory, to certify the geographic origin of our honey. Oritain takes soil samples from our apiary sites and then matches these same markers in the honey produced from those sites.
This geochemical fingerprinting allows us to have independent certification of the geographic origin of our honey. Not just that it comes from New Zealand, which they can prove, but that it comes from a certain region in New Zealand, effectively putting a pin in the map. We think this is pretty cool science.
The reason we’re able to make this additional investment in protecting the quality of our honey, while the big corporate players in the Manuka market are not, is because of a key aspect of their so-called production process: blending.
Much of the Manuka Honey sold under the big name labels is purchased in bulk from honey producers all over New Zealand. The honey is then blended to achieve a certain MG or UMF rating. Notice how producers will sell a 250, a 400, and a 550 MG honey, but never, say, a 430.
Most of the honey going into these “production batches” is probably Manuka Honey, but it doesn't need to be. Under the blended model, the goal is the rating number.
Our Manuka Honey is packed by extraction batch, hive-to-jar. No blending. No additional process steps. Our honey may have some variation in color and texture from batch to batch. Granulation of honey is natural and varies from batch to batch based on a number of factors related to the season. The way the bees make the honey is the way we give it to you. This ensures our honey has all the wonderful health benefits you'd expect, in addition to the added bonus of being a marvelous tasting gourmet food.
Whether you're buying our Manuka Honey or someone else’s, we want you to be informed. To find a brand you can trust, you should check for the following criteria:
Our Promise to You
At Bees & Trees, we will always work diligently to produce what we think is the world’s finest jar of honey.
We do all of this so that we can provide you with a great-tasting, health-boosting honey in which you can have ultimate confidence.
PS: If you have any questions at all, ask us anything.
(Buy 4 or more and save 10%)
Pure New Zealand Manuka Honey.
This is our current medium-activity honey from our Batch 5, Summer 2017 harvest. This batch has tested at a 350+ level of dietary Methylglyoxal (MG). This honey is a great value for those who don't need the higher activity honey that we offer. Same great taste of New Zealand's Taranaki region at a more affordable price. (380g/13.4oz)
Download the Independent Laboratory Test Report to see the test results.
(Buy 4 or more and save 10%)
Pure New Zealand Manuka Honey.
This is our current "high-activity" batch release. We are now shipping from Batch 5, Summer 2018 harvest. This batch has tested to be a very active 550+ Methylglyoxal (MG). Absolutely delicious flavor... (380g/13.4oz)
Here's a copy of the most recent lab test —> Download the independent Laboratory Test Report.
The 2020 Manuka honey season is officially starting in the Taranaki region of New Zealand. Bees & Trees founder, Mike Everly, has been in New... Read More
This fascinating article, linked below, explains the process of how Dr. Samuel Ramsey, a leading researcher in the field of honeybee health with a focus on... Read More
December 12, 2019 In this article in Science Focus, the home of BBC Science Focus Magazine, scientists have used tiny layers of Manuka honey in... Read More
Bees & Trees is proud to announce that we have been granted a license under the New Zealand FernMark program. Consumers around the globe want... Read More