What Is Manuka Honey?

October 9, 2018

Manuka honey goes mainstream! At least, that’s the mission behind Wedderspoon, a New Zealand-based company that heads straight to the source to fill every jar with its golden nectar. It all started in 2005, when Sébastien Martin and Catherine Wedderspoon-Martin realized Manuka honey—one of the world’s most highly sought-after holistic ingredients—was relatively unknown in North America. Once you learn more about how it’s made, the strict regulations, and glowing benefits, you’ll be buzzing with excitement to use Manuka honey as often as possible. And don’t worry, we’ve got a list of sweet ideas below, so keep reading!

The Manuka Tree

Every spoonful of Manuka honey starts with the Manuka tree. It’s a relative of the tea tree, and grows throughout New Zealand, often in extremely rugged and remote terrain. Basically, this tree is a survival expert, with vibrant pink flowers that really show off when the trees are in bloom. When beehives are placed nearby, bees collect the nectar and the result is sticky and sweet Manuka honey!

Manuka Honey Benefits

Raw honey boasts vitamins and minerals like zinc, potassium, iron, calcium, and vitamin B6, to name a few. Unprocessed honey also contains polyphenols, antioxidants may help reduce the signs of aging by offsetting free-radical damage. Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, honey has also been used to address symptoms of the common cold. a popular remedy for fighting off colds and infections.

Wedderspoon’s Beekeepers

Wedderspoon’s Manuka honey is sourced from New Zealand’s North and South Islands, where a team of its beekeeping partners tend to hives and transports them for harvest. “When Wedderspoon started in 2005, we partnered with some of the most experienced and ethical beekeepers in New Zealand, all of whom we continue to work with today,” CEO Rebecca Remley said. “These long-standing relationships are a testament to our shared values of sustainability and quality throughout our entire production pipeline.”

“Long-standing relationships with beekeeper’s are a testament to shared values of sustainability and quality throughout our entire production pipeline.”

Although the brand has been in the honey business for a decade, they’re always learning new things about the mighty bee. “Beekeeping requires a wide range of knowledge; not just apiology (the scientific study of bees), but also botany, meteorology, and regional seasonal variations. All of these factors have a direct impact on the honey at harvest,” Rebecca said.

Manuka Honey In New Zealand

Wedderspoon Manuka Honey

Until recently, Manuka honey standards weren’t clearly defined. But as of February 5, 2018, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in New Zealand established regulations to ensure honey products exported from the country must meet either the Monofloral or Multifloral regulatory definition of Manuka, and be appropriately labeled. This means honey undergoes two laboratory tests to check for for five essential attributes (4 chemicals and 1 DNA marker) that authenticate the honey. In a nutshell, consumers can buzz with confidence knowing any Manuka-labeled honey from New Zealand is genuine.

Wedderspoon Manuka Honey Standards

To offer even greater peace of mind for consumers, Wedderspoon takes the strict government honey regulations a step further. “It was important for us to call out the additional attributes we feel set the bar even higher for Manuka honey products. Our KFactor methodology or ‘key factors’ are easy to understand and identify on the jar,” Rebecca shared.

  1. Non-GMO verified: Every batch of Manuka honey is certified by the Non-GMO Project.
  2. Out with the bad stuff: In addition to its non-GMO status, the honey is also free from antibiotics, pesticides, and glyphosate.
  3. Raw and unpasteurized: Wedderspoon’s honey is produced using a raw creaming process, which helps maintain the naturally-occurring wellness properties inherent in honey.
  4. Traceable from hive to home: Every jar is traceable back to the master beekeeper who took care of the hive from beginning to end.
  5. The pride of New Zealand: The brand bears the FernMark license on its jars, which is formal recognition of its role as an ambassador for New Zealand, and serves as third-party verification that its products are locally made.

Wedderspoon was the first Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 3 certified Manuka honey facility in the world, setting the highest standards for both food safety and quality. “Honey is inspected at every stage, from receipt from the master beekeepers to the loading of the finished pallet,” Rebecca shared.

“Honey is inspected at every stage, from receipt from the master beekeepers to the loading of the finished pallet.”

Consumers have the option of choosing from the two KFactor designations, KFactor 16 and KFactor 12, throughout the product line.

  • KFactor 16: Monofloral Manuka, this honey is “wholly or mostly” from the Leptospermum scoparium (Manuka) plant.
  • KFactor 12: Multifloral Manuka, this honey blend comes from a variety of plant sources, the most significant being the Leptospermum scoparium (Manuka) plant. Worth noting: As bees have a considerable flight distance and need variety in their diet, a honey will never be 100% from a single nectar source!

How to Use Manuka Honey

A jar of honey can go a long way, and this list will ensure you never run out of ideas for how to use Manuka honey.

  • Mix into yogurt
  • Drizzle on granola
  • Pair with cheese plates
  • Add to toast with peanut butter or almond butter
  • Make a DIY face mask
  • Add a squeeze to vinaigrettes
  • Sweeten your smoothie
  • Enjoy a spoonful on its own

Manuka Honey Products

Wedderspoon Manuka Honey

From cough drops to on-the-go packets, here’s everything you need to stock your pantry with Manuka honey. “As a functional superfood, Manuka honey’s distinct flavor profile makes it great in both savory and sweet dishes,” Rebecca shared. “Our raw creaming process maintains all of the naturally-occurring beneficial properties in Manuka honey, which means it tastes exactly as nature intended—earthy, rich, and delicious.”

Raw Manuka Honey, KFactor 16

This 17.6-ounce jar is filled with New Zealand’s best nectar. It’s the O.G. functional food—unpasturized, raw, and delicious. Every jar is sourced, packed, and sealed in NZ for quality and transparency.

Raw Honey On the Go, KFactor 16

Take your honey anywhere! These single-serving packets are perfect for travel, your office desk, or bag. Each box includes 24 (.02 oz) pouches of raw Manuka honey made by hardworking New Zealand bees.

Organic Manuka Honey Drops With Lemon

Soothe your throat with these sweet drops that use honey, lemon, and added bee propolis to help you feel better, fast.

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Nicole Gulotta

Nicole Gulotta is a writer, author, and tea enthusiast.

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