Why is Manuka Honey so expensive?
First, Manuka Honey is nothing like other varietals of honey. Local wildflower honeys and conventional clover honeys may always have a place in your cupboard, but Manuka Honey contains 20 times the individual natural compounds, giving it a range of health benefits that are unique to Manuka Honey.
Real Manuka Honey is made when bees almost exclusively pollinate the Manuka Flower.
To make genuine Manuka Honey, bees must solely pollinate the Manuka Flower. If the Manuka Flower is only one of many blooms pollinated, the honey created is 'Multi-Floral' Manuka Honey, which has a much lower concentration of Manuka Honey's unique wellness properties. Monofloral Manuka Honey is created when bees, by their own free will, choose to pollinate this unique bloom above all others.
The Manuka Flower blooms only 2-6 weeks per year. It would be one thing if the Manuka Flower bloomed throughout the season, but this plant has a very short flowering window. This means that bees have as little as 12 days to collect the nectar of the Manuka Flower and create the Manuka Honey yield of the entire year. It also takes bees 22,700 trips to the Manuka Flower to gather the nectar needed to create a single jar of honey, which is a lot of work in a very short period of time.
The Manuka Flower is only native to the remote hills and forests of New Zealand.
If the Manuka Flower could grow anywhere, Manuka Honey would not be as rare a natural occurrence. But in addition to a short bloom window, Manuka Flowers are only found in specific microclimates in its native New Zealand, often in the most isolated hills and forests. This wild plant is very sensitive to changes in climate and weather, pollution and other human interference, so the further away the Manuka plant is situated from human contact, the healthier the Manuka Flower, bee colonies and Manuka Honey. This is why Honeybunch only harvests Manuka Honey from locations that are very difficult to access - not disturbing plants and bees so they are able to produce their best honey in sustainable environments.
In addition to the rarity of the Manuka Flower, not all blooms create nectar that contains high concentrations of Leptosperin, Methylglyoxal, and DHA - the 3 chemical markers of Manuka. So despite the work that goes into pollination, the levels of Manuka's rare properties may still not be high enough to be meaningful. This is why it is important to pay attention to the UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) on your jar of Manuka Honey. This is the only independently verified rating system that measures all 3 chemical markers, and certifiably guarantees mimimum levels in each jar. There is no other system that gives you a clear rating of what you are getting. UMF is the highest standard.