Manuka Honey Vs Regular Honey [Comparison Guide]


6 minutes.

Essential Takeaways

Manuka honey has become a wellness hero product. It’s been the topic of many medical studies and is used by medical professionals. It’s typically more coveted, more expensive, and much more regulated than regular honey.

Regular honey can be problematic. Depending on the brand, it can be heavily processed, mixed with other ingredients, and labeled misleadingly.

Of course there are also many regular honeys out there produced by genuine, dedicated people.

Some regular honeys have had successes in medical trials, but results have been mixed. If you’re looking for regular honey, always try to shop locally and read the label.

Manuka honey might be the most famous kind on the market.

But it’s far from the only honey variety.

It’s typically more expensive.

It’s harder to find.

And it’s labelled in a strict, regulated way.

But, why? Is it worth all that?

What’s so special about manuka honey vs regular honey?

In this guide to manuka honey vs regular honey:

Manuka Honey vs Regular Honey: A Quick Overview

Manuka honey is a type of honey.

It’s graded and labelled differently to other honeys because of its unique health benefits, which have been tested by scientists for years.

The higher grades of manuka honey are typically monofloral, which means the honey was made exclusively with the nectar of manuka flowers.

They’re often raw and less processed, which protects the natural good stuff.

“Regular” honey doesn’t refer to any specific type of honey.

It might be multifloral (made from the nectar of numerous plants), more processed, and can sometimes be diluted with other sugars and ingredients.

So here, we’ll be using the term “regular honey” with a pinch of salt. Think of it as the unspecified jars you might find on grocery store shelves.

Why is it so much cheaper? What’s in regular honey vs manuka honey, and where are the best places to buy them?

Let’s find out.

The Processing

Regular honey is typically more processed than manuka honey, but this will depend on the brand.

Regular honey

The typical processes to prepare regular honeys for sale include:

  • Heating: Temperatures of up to 77℃ (170+℉) help to increase shelf life and reduce the moisture content of honey. This can also kill the active antioxidant properties in the honey.
  • Filtration: This is used to catch any debris and bubbles in the honey. Some honeys go through ultrafiltration which can heavily dilute them.
  • Creaming: Creaming the honey simply makes it smoother and more spreadable.

Manuka honey

High-grade manuka honey is largely unprocessed.

This ensures that any of the active good stuff remains intact, and that you get a natural product.

Between our hives and jars, we:

  • Purify our honey without pasteurising it and losing any of that valuable good stuff.
  • Cream the honey so it lasts longer and won’t granulate on your shelf.

(This is the same for all our honeys, not just the highest grades.)

The bottom line:

Regular honey is often more processed than manuka honey. This of course depends on the brand of honey.

The Nutrition

Let’s lift the jar lid on the nutrients in regular vs manuka honey.


Regular honey

Manuka honey


304 kcal

350 kcal
















See sources linked for serving sizes and further nutritional breakdown.

The bottom line:

When it comes to macro-nutrients, there aren’t significant differences between honey types. It’s elsewhere that we find what sets manuka honey apart.

The Medical Uses

Honey has been used for medical purposes for thousands of years. But it’s manuka honey that is most often used by the experts.

Regular honey

It’s not just manuka honey that has been researched for health benefits. Other honeys have too, with mixed results.

With so many fakes on the market, it’s difficult for the average person to tell what they’re actually buying. So using regular honey for medical purposes can be a bit of a lottery.

Manuka honey

Manuka honey has been shown to contain more antibacterial properties than other honeys.

For this reason, its medical uses have been tried and tested by doctors and by vets with great success.  

Today, it’s commonly used for things like:

It may also be good for some diabetics and pregnant women.

With its strict regulation and precise labeling, it’s easier for the average person to spot authentic manuka honey.

Read more: Medical Grade Manuka Honey.

The bottom line:

Manuka honey is used by medical professionals for its unique properties. For this reason, it’s labeled differently so easier to identify, and you’re more likely to see results.

Shop our Manuka Honey

The Labeling

Manuka honey is the most regulated in the world. Regular honey? Not so much, and it has caused huge problems for the industry.

Regular honey

Without the same regulation as manuka honey, regular honeys are often topped up with other sugars like corn syrup.

Following famous honey fraud cases, the FDA does require that this is on the label. But foreign imported honeys have slipped through the cracks.

To get the most authentic honey, try to shop local and read labels thoroughly.

Manuka honey

The scarcity and reputation of New Zealand’s manuka honey gives it a higher price tag than other honeys. As a result, there are plenty of imposters out there.

The Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association developed its own grading system to certify authentic manuka honeys. On genuine labels, you’ll find a UMF™ value and an MGO value.

These measure the most important bioactive compounds in the honey so you know what you’re buying.

Make feeling good an everyday thing.

Read more: UMF™ Honey and the UMFHA.

The bottom line:

Manuka honey is potentially the most coveted and expensive honey in the world. As a result, it has a unique labeling system to protect its authenticity. Regular honey is not bound by the same regulations.

The Price

A jar of regular honey in the grocery store could sell for under $10. But top-tier manuka honey? You’re looking at closer to $200.

Regular honey

You’ll have seen by now that regular honey can be problematic.

There are thousands of genuine, dedicated honey producers across the US. But there are plenty of fakes and imposters too, driving down prices and flushing the market with tainted products.

That $10 jar might call itself “honey”. And it might be safe to eat.

But if you’re after the potent health benefits, it probably falls short.

Manuka honey

The price difference of regular honey vs manuka honey might seem pretty drastic. But you get what you pay for.

With our genuine NZ manuka honey, you know you’re getting:

The bottom line:

Manuka honey fetches a higher price because it is a scarcer, more regulated, more potent, and more highly sought-after - a super nature product.

Where To Buy Manuka Honey vs Regular Honey

It’s quite easy to find manuka honey and regular honey. Where you shop will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

Regular honey

Wherever you’re based, try to shop local.

This will not only support your community and perhaps smaller beekeepers, but it will be easier to avoid the tainted honeys that sell for the lowest prices.

Manuka honey

Make sure your manuka honey supplier is certified and their products are independently tested. Ideally, you want the honey to have been cultivated and packed in New Zealand.

Our raw manuka honeys are independently tested and certified so you can rest assured that you’re getting the good stuff!

Shop our range.

Sources referenced in the text (in order):

The ultimate guide to NZ honey varieties, New Zealand Honey Co.

Why is manuka honey more expensive? New Zealand Honey Co.

UMF™ vs. MGO vs. KFactor vs. Bioactive vs. MGS vs. NPA: confused about manuka honey? New Zealand Honey Co.

Decoding UMF™, New Zealand Honey Co.

Antibacterial activity of manuka honey and its components, National Library of Medicine.

The benefits of manuka honey, New Zealand Honey Co.

Monofloral vs. multifloral manuka honey, New Zealand Honey Co.

What’s the deal with organic honey? New Zealand Honey Co.

How honey is processed, IFT.

To what temperature does honey have to be heated to destroy the health benefits, Bee Health.

Honey, USDA.

Manuka honey, USDA.

What are macronutrients? WebMD.

Honey, milk, and antibiotics, African Journal of Biotechnology.

How to avoid buying fake manuka honey, New Zealand Honey Co.

Clinical significance of manuka and medical grade honey, National Library of Medicine.

Why use manuka honey, The Veterinary Nurse.

Traditional and modern uses of natural honey in human diseases, National Library of Medicine.

176 ways to use manuka honey, New Zealand Honey Co.

Manuka honey for wound management, New Zealand Honey Co.

Manuka honey for burns, New Zealand Honey Co.

Manuka honey for scars, New Zealand Honey Co.

Manuka honey for acne, New Zealand Honey Co.

Manuka honey for eczema, New Zealand Honey Co.

Manuka honey for stomach problems, New Zealand Honey Co.

Manuka honey for diabetes, New Zealand Honey Co.

Manuka honey for pregnancy and recovery, New Zealand Honey Co.

Manuka honey: a promising wound dressing, National Library of Medicine.

UMF™ honey and the UMFHA, New Zealand Honey Co.

Your fancy honey might not actually be honey, Vice.

Investigating food fraud in the honey industry, News-Medical.

Guidance for industry proper labeling of honey and honey products, FDA.


How much UMF™ is enough? New Zealand Honey Co.

Honey is one of the most faked foods in the world, Insider.

New Zealand Honey Co. Credentials, New Zealand Honey Co.

Interesting facts you didn’t know about bees and beekeeping, New Zealand Honey Co.

Best places to buy manuka honey, New Zealand Honey Co.

Your wellness journey starts with a spoonful a day.

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