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What's the difference between Raw Honey and Manuka Honey?

What's the difference between Raw Honey and Manuka Honey?

Once you start delving into the world of Manuka and other honey products, you soon come face to face with an array of terms that are sometimes hard to understand.

As you attempt to weigh up the merits of different honey products, it can sometimes be a bit confusing. There are so many types of honey, and so many opinions on which types are best.

One question that often comes up, is “what’s the difference between Raw Honey and Manuka Honey?”.

So, let’s take a look at this particular question and hopefully clear up at least a little of the confusion.


Raw Honey

Raw Honey can include honey made from any type of flower or plant, including Manuka.

The reason it is called Raw, is because it exists in its natural state, either in the beehive itself, or as obtained by extraction, settling or straining, without adding heat. (Source: Wikipedia).

 Beekeeping equipment

It should be noted that some honey labelled as raw, often has actually been processed to some degree.

The lack of processing is why raw honey often includes particles of wax, propolis and pollen.

Manuka Honey

Manuka Honey is honey that bees have produced using the flowers of the Manuka tree.

 New Zealand landscape

The Manuka tree grows abundantly throughout New Zealand, often in extremely rugged and remote terrain. When hives are placed in these remote areas where the Manuka trees dominate the landscape, the result is Manuka Honey.

Manuka honey contains an extraordinary enzyme called methylglyoxal (MGO). This property is unique to Manuka honey and is not found in any other type of honey.

There is some overlap between these honey types

As you can see from the above definitions, Raw Honey is simply honey made from any kind of flower or plant source - including the Manuka flower - in it’s raw state.

Whereas, Manuka honey is only made from the Manuka flower, and it could be raw honey as well, or it might be heated and filtered. You need to check the label to find that out.

As a buyer, what can I take from all of this? Which is best?

The answer to these questions really depends on your intentions.

Both honey types might have great taste and some special chemical properties, but if you are looking for a honey with special properties that contains the methylglyoxal (MGO) enzyme, then you need to know a few more details before you can make a smart purchase.

The UMF rating system for Manuka Honey

Unfortunately, not all Manuka Honey is equal and there are many products out there that are being marketed as active Manuka honey, when in fact they are not.

Also, the location of beehives is important because a hive surrounded by a higher concentration of Manuka plants will likely produce a more potent form of Manuka Honey, than a hive set amongst a wide range of other plants with a smattering of Manuka trees.

Luckily, there is a solution that lets consumers buy with confidence and it’s the UMF rating system. This system is independent and it categorises the MGO content of a particular batch of Manuka honey.

You simply need to look for the UMF label on the honey jar - the higher the number, the more pure and active the honey is.

Less than 100 companies are licensed to use the UMF rating system for their Manuka Honey, and at Bee Plus, we are one of them. You can learn more about our approach and UMF here.

Go forward with knowledge

We hope this has given you some clarity on these terms and given you a way to decide on a suitable honey product for your needs.

If you would like to check out our range at Bee Plus, click here to see our certified UMF honey from UMF 9+, right up to UMF 21+.

We will be adding more information on Manuka Honey regularly, so be sure to visit us often.

If you have any specific questions, please feel free to contact us.


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Our promise to you- only the highest quality UMF honey.

Our beehives are located in some of the most remote areas of New Zealand, safely away from any pollutants or pesticides. Our skilled beekeepers travel to these remote places and handle the process from start to finish with the utmost professionalism and expertise.

learn more about the UMF rating system