The ingredients that stimulate immunity are playing a major part when developing new products, and one of them is Manuka Honey. This is why we would like to share with you some context to help you in the task of purchasing this natural ingredient.
Commonly known as the champagne of honeys, it is a honey with a long history: it has been used in Maori traditional medicine for centuries. This honey has been described as the best natural antibiotic in the world, and thanks to its antibacterial power, the food supplements sector is increasingly opting for its use in the formulas.
In the past year, 27 new products containing this valuable ingredient have been launched in Europe, in different categories: food, vitamins, food supplements, animal food and drinks.
What are the purchasing criteria for Manuka honey?
Purchasing criteria are important when buying natural ingredients because they help us ensure its authenticity and exclusive antibacterial properties. For this purpose, the purchasing criteria on Manuka Honey include the analysis of two main aspects: methylglyoxal content, as well as flower variety and origin.
1- Manuka Honey grading system
The medicinal properties attributed to Manuka honey are due to the presence of flavonoids, phenolic acids, and methylglyoxal. These attributes can be measured thanks to their methylglyoxal content (MGO), which is Manuka honey’s active ingredient, source of its antibacterial effects.
The methylglyoxal content can considerably differ according to individual Manuka honeys. The elements that influence the variation of content are geographical location, temperature, time of harvest, and storage conditions.
MGO, a marker for the antibacterial activity.
The strong antibacterial activity of Manuka honey is due to the presence of the antibacterial substance methylglyoxal (MGO). MGO is obtained through a natural chemical reaction from dihydroxyacetone (DHA). DHA is unique to manuka nectar.
HoneyGreen+ provides New Zealand Manuka Honey in bulk, with different MGO grades; this parameter is always analysed in reference accredited laboratories.
2- Varieties of Manuka Honey
When purchasing Manuka honey we should take into account its variety: monofloral or multifloral. A monofloral manuka honey is exclusively produced out of the nectar from the Manuka tree flower (Leptospermum scoparium), whereas a multifloral Manuka honey is produced out of nectar from various flowers, but it mainly contains nectar from Manuka flowers.
Photo: Region of Taranki, New Zealand
3- Origin of the Manuka honey
Leptospermum scoparium, Manuka tree or Tea tree, is a shrub where the Manuka flowers bloom. It is commonly found in New Zealand. The Manuka harvest begins in the north of New Zealand (September) and ends in the south (January-February), except for some areas with altitude.
Photo: Tea Tree
How Manuka Honey is used in the market
27 new products have been launched on the European market since January 2020:
- Retail. Manuka honey is a perfect natural sweetener to be consumed throughout the day in a natural way. “Djokovic says he takes two tablespoons of manuka honey every day and he believes that helped him not having suffered a single cold in the past two years”.
- Food supplements and vitamins. Manuka honey has been chosen as an ingredient in products that claim: “Decongestant relief, for coughs, colds and the flu” and “Vitamins and dietetic supplements”. In this category, 5 different infusions brands chose to include this ingredient as a natural sweetener with multiple healthy benefits.
- Animal food. The beehive products are increasingly present in this sector. As for Manuka honey, it is used for its probiotic and prebiotic effect.
Source: GNPD Mintel
Nutritional and cosmetic benefits of Manuka Honey
- Antiviral activity. Various sources report a high inhibitory activity of Manuka honey against the influenza virus due to methylglyoxal.
- Immune activation effect. Manuka honey contributes to the improvement of immune reaction of the body.
- Natural cosmetics: A wide variety of cosmetics brands have incorporated manuka honey as it is a powerful, repairing and antioxidant active ingredient.
The different uses of Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is most commonly used in the following products: honey, confectionary, drinks. Thanks to its high antibacterial activity, its prebiotic and probiotic effects, it has also been incorporated in food supplements, animal food, wound patches and natural cosmetics.
HoneyGreen+ provides New Zealand Manuka Honey in bulk, in different formats and with different MGO grades.
Sources: GNPD Mintel