Back in 2016, renowned UK magazine The Grocer released a piece claiming that 80% of all manuka honey being sold was fake.

At the time, the UMFHA had allegedly claimed that New Zealand produces 1,700 tons of manuka honey each year.

However, over 10,000 tons were being sold annually around the world.

The Grocer alleged that more manuka honey was being sold in the UK each year than the entire amount produced in New Zealand.

It doesn’t take a math genius to see the problem here – it must mean the majority of manuka honey being sold is not actually real manuka honey.

Unfortunately, it appears the problem starts at home.

According to Airborne Honey, a NZ honey producer for over 50 years, the entire NZ manuka harvest has grown to around 3,000 tons per year, but New Zealand exports around 9,000 tons of manuka per year.

Does this mean NZ is exporting fake manuka honey?

Well – probably not.

The more likely explanation is New Zealand is blending its manuka honey, so that much of the honey being exported is lower quality, multi-floral honey that has some manuka in it.

Even if NZ only produces 3,000 tons of honey, they can legitimately export 9,000 tons of honey that contains manuka honey but is not pure manuka honey.

How To Avoid Buying Fake Manuka Honey?

The easiest way to avoid fake manuka honey is to buy reputable brands of manuka honey, and manuka honey that have up-to-date certifications.

The most established certification in the industry today is the UMF certification, which is used by all the major producers in New Zealand.

You can read more about UMF certification in our article on grading systems here.

There are also other grading systems, such as AMHA, KFactor and MGO, but UMF remains the industry standard.

You can compare grading equivalents using our chart below:






Similar or indistinguishable from regular honey





Medium level honey. Good for general wellbeing.





Good quality honey with significant antibacterial activity.





High quality honey with high antibacterial activity.





Ultra quality honey with medicinal antibacterial activity.





What Brands Can Be Trusted?

Below are some brands we recommend for getting high quality, authentic, pure manuka honey:

  • New Zealand Honey Co
  • Comvita
  • Wild Cape
  • Manukora
  • Manuka South

All of these brands make UMF graded manuka honey right here in New Zealand, and export to the world.

If you would like to see our top brands of manuka honey ranked for this year, and the best place to buy them, check out our list here!

About the author 


I'm Erin, and my family has been raising bees for over two generations. We no longer raise bees on Manuka flowers, but it remains one of our favorites, and we eat it daily, among other honeys like Kamahi and Rata. Since Manuka has grown in popularity overseas in recent years, we thought we should educate people on the true benefits of Manuka and how to find quality Manuka honey. Haere mai to our site, written by us and designed by our brilliant computer whiz of a son, Byron. We hope you find it helpful!

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