Why Is Manuka Honey So Expensive? (7 Reasons Why)

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Maisie Hughes

Maisie Hughes is a 20-year veteran of the culinary world. She has worked as a chef in some of the most prestigious restaurants in the country, and she currently volunteers her time at local food banks.

Honey is an ancient sweetener, with honey being found as far back in history as 5,500 BC. From being used for its healing properties, taste, and more, honey comes in many variations, and one of the most popular types of honey is Manuka honey.

If you have heard about Manuka honey, you may have seen Manuka honey’s hefty price tag and wondered why Manuka honey is so expensive. I did some digging, and here is what I learned!

Why Is Manuka Honey So Expensive?

One of the main reasons Manuka honey is expensive is that it is rare. Manuka honey comes from a Manuka bush that only grows in New Zealand and Australia for short periods. Therefore, there’s only so much Manuka honey that can be made. Additionally, Manuka honey has to get certified, which further increases the price.

Do you want to find out even more reasons why Manuka honey is expensive? I compiled a list of various reasons and explanations below, so keep reading!

1. Manuka Honey Is Rare

Firstly, the main reason that Manuka honey is so expensive is Manuka honey is rare.

So, whenever a commodity is not easy to create or sell, the price will naturally become more expensive.

For instance, truffle mushrooms are very hard to find while only growing seasonally and in small amounts.

That said, this naturally raises the price point of truffle mushrooms, similar to how Manuka honey costs a lot.

2. Manuka Honey Has Many Health Benefits

Other than being rare, Manuka honey has a high price point because it is well-sought out due to the health benefits Manuka honey has to offer.

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Therefore, the popularity and scarcity of Manuka honey contribute to Manuka honey’s price tag.

For instance, one of Manuka honey’s more interesting health benefits is that Manuka honey can promote wound healing.

In fact, the Food and Drug Administration approved manuka honey in 2015 to treat wounds.

Further, Manuka honey for wound treatment is likely due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties.

For example, Manuka honey can be used post-surgery and for eyelid wounds, tissue regeneration, and more.

3. The Environment Manuka Honey Is Grown In

Another huge reason Manuka honey is expensive is the environment in which Manuka honey ingredients can thrive, meaning there will be a limited amount that can be procured.

Manuka trees, which produce the flowers that create Manuka honey, can only grow in New Zealand and Australia.

So, while there are other species of Manuka bushes throughout the world, the bees that make Manuka honey are only found in New Zealand and Australia.

Also, despite being available in New Zealand and Australia, that does not mean Manuka honey is abundant.

Primarily, Manuka trees are not abundant in Australia or New Zealand, which is why Manuka honey is so scarce.

Moreover, it is worth noting that there is a very short period where Manuka flowers bloom.

For example, since Manuka flowers only blossom for two to six weeks, there is not much time for the bees to take the pollen to create Manuka honey.

Additionally, there is no guaranteed time that these flowers will bloom because Manuka trees tend to be temperamental depending on the weather.

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Therefore, this makes it harder for people to keep up with when the Manuka honey is made.

In good weather conditions, harvesters can expect a decent amount of Manuka honey.

However, poor weather conditions can cause the Manuka flowers to bloom for a short period, causing a shortage of Manuka honey, thus increasing the price.

4. Different Brands Of Manuka Honey

4. Different Brands Of Manuka Honey

As with most products, branding can have a huge impact on the price, including different brands of Manuka honey.

For example, some brands may be more popular than others, which can cause their Manuka honey products to have a higher price tag.

However, some brands have different levels of potency or grade. Therefore, Manuka honey, which is considered higher quality, will naturally be more expensive.

5. Manuka Honey Gets Tested

A major reason why Manuka honey costs a lot of money is that Manuka honey must be tested.

For instance, the New Zealand government has strict requirements for testing Manuka honey before Manuka honey gets sold.

Moreover, the Manuka honey may undergo further testing by Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association (UMFHA).

Additionally, these tests will give Manuka honey a grading with UMF™, which will hugely impact the price of Manuka honey.

Normally, bottles of Manuka honey will have a UMF™ 5+ grading, and it is safe for daily consumption at an affordable price.

On the other hand, Manuka honey with a UMF™ 24+ grading is very high-quality and hard to harvest, making it very expensive.

6. Limited Supplies Of Manuka Honey Yearly

Scarcity is a huge reason why Manuka honey is so expensive.

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Back in 2018, only 2,800 tons of Manuka honey were available worldwide, whereas 1.9 million tons of other honey variants were available throughout the world.

Also, Manuka honey is very popular amongst health enthusiasts and the medical community. Therefore, the price will naturally escalate as the availability of Manuka honey diminishes.

7. Specialized Beekeepers

Another good reason Manuka honey can cost so much is that no regular beekeeper can harvest the honey.

Instead, Manuka honey requires specialized beekeepers to procure the honey properly.

That said, specialized beekeepers know how to collect Manuka honey without causing stress to the bees.

Also, these beekeepers know how to keep the beehives healthy, ensuring that the bee population will be healthy enough to create more Manuka honey in the future.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why olive oil is so expensive, why maple syrup is so expensive, and why milk is so expensive.

Conclusion

Manuka honey is expensive for various reasons. For instance, Manuka honey can only grow in Australia and New Zealand, where the Manuka flowers only bloom for two to six weeks a year.

Moreover, the main reason why Manuka honey is so expensive is that there is a high demand for Manuka honey.

However, there is only a small amount of Manuka honey available each year, which naturally raises the price.

Author

  • Maisie Hughes is a 20-year veteran of the culinary world. She has worked as a chef in some of the most prestigious restaurants in the country, and she currently volunteers her time at local food banks.

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