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Manuka Honey

Why is Manuka Honey so expensive?

With its rising popularity, it’s only natural to wonder about what contributes to the higher price tag of Manuka honey.
In this article, we’ll dive into the production of Australian Manuka and what makes it so special – helping you make the right choice when stocking up on naturally bioactive Manuka honey!

Unique Native Growing Capabilities 

Australian Manuka Honey is renowned for its smooth taste and bioactive benefits, owing to the diverse range of native flora Australian honeybees forage on. This rich floral diversity is unique to Australia and includes Leptospermum, responsible for producing Manuka nectar. Manuka plants, or Leptospermum, only grow in Australia and New Zealand. Being native to only two countries in the world means honey from Manuka plants is incredibly rare.

Beekeepers carefully position their hives in pristine and remote locations where these flowers flourish, allowing the bees to create Manuka honey. This meticulous hive placement and management, in response to varying flowering patterns, contribute to the higher costs of Australian Manuka Honey production.

Not All Manuka is Active 

Not all Manuka honey possesses the same level of antibacterial properties associated with the “active” varieties. The presence of the bioactive compound Methylglyoxal (MGO) determines the activity level of Manuka honey. High-quality Australian Manuka honey with significant MGO levels is rarer and more sought after, making it more expensive to produce. Beekeepers must carefully manage their hives and ensure their honey meets the required MGO standards, further adding to production costs.

When purchasing Manuka honey – look for the word “active” to ensure it contains a heightened stable form of natural antibacterial activity. Read more about the difference between Manuka Honey and regular ‘table’ honey. 

Active Manuka Honey is prized for its health-supporting properties, and has been widely studied for its antimicrobial, and wound healing effects. There are several studies available including the following:

  • Molan, P.C. (2011). The evidence and the rationale for the use of honey as wound dressing. Wound Practice and Research, 19(4), 204-220.
  • Johnston, M., et al (2018). Antibacterial activity of Manuka honey and its components: An overview. AIMS Microbiology., 4(4):655-654
  • Bean, A. (2012). Investigating the Anti-inflammatory Activity of Honey (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from

Stringent Quality Control 

Authenticity and quality are paramount for Australian Manuka Honey. It must meet world-class criteria to be classified as genuine Manuka, including specified levels of Methylglyoxal (MGO). 

To ensure these standards are met, honey producers subject their products to comprehensive laboratory testing, including MGO testing, which incurs additional expenses. These rigorous quality control measures safeguard the authenticity and potency of Australian Manuka Honey. When choosing Manuka honey, consumers should look for reputable brands that adhere to industry-recognised standards. Capilano is a member of the Australian Manuka Honey Association (AMHA) and is proud to bear the AHMA Mark of Authenticity on all Capilano Active Manuka Honey.

You can learn more about the purity of our honey and the rigorous testing we do to ensure you enjoy the world’s purest, best-tasting honey here.

Remote Beekeeping Locations 

While Australia is home to 85 different species of Leptospermum – the regions this highly-regarded plant grows in are often situated in remote and challenging terrain.

To position hives in these ecologically diverse areas, beekeepers must navigate rugged landscapes, sometimes requiring specialised vehicles. The logistics and expenses involved in consistently reaching these remote locations to move hives, coupled with the need for responsible and sustainable beekeeping practices, contribute to the overall cost of Australian Manuka honey production.

Seasonal Availability 

Leptospermum flower seasonally. The nectar flow is unpredictable and limited to specific times of the year (mainly flowering from the end of October to the end of November). Beekeepers must carefully time their honey extraction to coincide with these short-lived blooms. Due to the seasonal nature of Manuka honey production, beekeepers often experience fluctuations in honey yields. As a natural product, the price of all honey, but especially Manuka honey is subject to seasonal weather events such as drought, rain and climate change. Without blooming flowers and happy bees, there is simply less honey available for us all to enjoy.

Environmental Conservation 

Australian Manuka honey production is led by a strong emphasis on environmental conservation. Beekeepers are committed to preserving the natural habitat and biodiversity of the regions where they operate. At Capilano, this includes ensuring responsible beekeeping practices, water recycling, renewable energy efforts, carbon plantation partnerships, and adhering to sustainable land management principles. 

Industry-wide, these environmental commitments require additional resources and investments, contributing to the overall cost of producing Australian Manuka honey.

You can read more about our sustainability here


Our Aussie beekeepers have a distinct love and passion for producing nature’s sweet superfood, Manuka honey.

Capilano Bee