This is Manuka: What you need to know

On Tuesday 9th August in Auckland’s CBD the UMF Honey Association will be holding a very special celebration, a presentation that could radically impact the trajectory of the Manuka Honey industry for the better.  ‘This is Manuka’ is all about providing assurance for the consumer and laying the most solid foundation ever seen for defining and authenticating genuine Manuka Honey.

The question of whether what an individual is buying is the real thing is a question that runs rampant throughout the food industry and honey is no different.  The distinction that New Zealand enjoys as the sole supplier of the planet’s Manuka Honey is something that has made the Honey Industry in New Zealand revered and respected.  But in the years since Manuka Honey first began to be produced commercially, the subject of authenticity has been one that has reared its head and provided a challenge.  How do Manuka Honey providers prove beyond doubt that what they are selling is actually Manuka Honey?  And how do you even define Manuka Honey?

Scientists in the UK, Australia, China, Germany, Japan and New Zealand have collaborated together with the goal of achieving a solution to these questions.  Together they have compiled the most comprehensive, clear and irrefutable definition of what Manuka Honey is.  Their research has come as an answer to the perceived marketplace issues that have arisen around the common but unreliable methods of Manuka Honey detection.  What has resulted is a testing method that will enable producers to give complete assurance as to the authenticity of their product.  The scientists’ work has become known throughout the industry as the Manuka ID Project.

Rather than simply testing perceived Manuka Honey, as has been done in the past, scientists have gone to the nectar of the Manuka flower itself, and from there have compared the chemical markers in the flower with what was found in the freshly collected nectar ‘shake’ and what was found in fully ripened Manuka Honey.  Having carried out this testing method all over New Zealand, from there they discovered numerous unique chemical markers that are found exclusively in Manuka Honey.  Of these markers four of them stand out and have been focussed on by the Manuka ID Project because of the ease with which they can be tested and identified, and have been found to be present in all Manuka Honey throughout New Zealand.  It is the presence of these natural chemical compounds – such as Leptosperin – that have culminated in the most clear and accurate definition of Manuka Honey ever seen.

This assurance of authenticity and proof of the genuine product is what the consumer will benefit from in the presentations that take place on 9th August at the Auckland Museum.  With speakers from Fera in the UK, ALNuMed in Germany, JCSIQ in China and the Universities of Auckland, Waikato, Sunshine Coast and Hyogo all set to speak and reveal their findings; the conference will herald a new and positive direction for the Manuka Honey industry.

This development in the Manuka Honey Industry has been greeted warmly by Summer Glow Apiaries.  As one of the most forefront pioneers of commercially produced Manuka Honey in New Zealand, authenticity and integrity of the product has long been highly valued by Bill and Margaret Bennett; founders of Summer Glow Apiaries.  As proud stakeholders in the UMF Honey Association and active participants in the Manuka ID Project, Summer Glow Apiaries are proudly in support of the revelations that have come about to accurately and precisely define Manuka Honey; and consider the findings of this research as added assurance to their customers as to the authenticity of Summer Glow Manuka Honey.