Avoid These ‘Fake’ Manuka Honey Brands

avoid fake manuka honey brands

Manuka honey has been getting a lot of attention in recent years for its potent antibacterial and healing qualities. It gets used as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments from treating wounds and burns to clearing up acne and improving digestive health.

If you’ve shopped around for manuka honey you’ve probably noticed it’s pretty expensive stuff. In fact, depending on the grade you get, it can be over 6 times the price of regular table honey.

With such a high premium being paid for manuka honey there have been news reports of significant quantities of fake manuka honey being sold in stores.

What do we mean by ‘fake’ manuka honey

We’ll put it straight out there: most of the brands on our list probably sell ‘real’ manuka honey. It’s probably honey that comes mostly from the nectar of manuka flowers.

So, why are they on our list?

We consider ‘fake’ manuka honey to be manuka honey that is labeled in such a way as to be confusing or mislead the average consumer into thinking the honey is higher quality than it actually is.

One of the issues the manuka honey industry is facing right now are the numerous quality grading systems honey producers use to convey the ‘quality’ of their product. It can be confusing for consumers to compare manuka honey between different brands because the grading systems do not measure quality in the same way. In fact, it’s so confusing that we dedicated a whole article to comparing UMF manuka honey, MGO, KFactor, and Bio Active grading systems.


It can be argued that the quality of a manuka honey is directly related to its non-peroxide activity (NPA).

All honey can have antibacterial activity due to hydrogen peroxide (peroxide activity) in the honey. But not all honey has NPA. High quality manuka honey has high levels of NPA and is why it has such potent healing qualities. The higher the non-peroxide activity, the higher the quality.

Some of these grading systems, like UMF, do a good job conveying the non-peroxide activity (and thus, the quality) of the manuka honey.

Other brands use grading systems that obscure the NPA of their honey. To us, these are the fake manuka honey brands you want to avoid.

Fake manuka honey brands


Wedderspoon Manuka Honey

Wedderspoon invented and uses the ‘KFactor’ grading system for their manuka honey. KFactor conveys purity of the honey by measuring the percentage of pollen in the honey that is manuka pollen. For example, 65% of the pollen in their KFactor 12 Manuka Honey is manuka pollen.

This does not convey the NPA of the manuka honey! Even if the honey were to contain 100% manuka pollen, that doesn’t automatically mean the honey has NPA.

In the world of manuka honey, purity and quality are very different things.

Manuka Doctor

Manuka Doctor gives their manuka honey a ‘Bio Active’ rating. This grading system is actually a step up from the KFactor grading system in that it measures the peroxide antibacterial activity of the honey.

Seems reasonable, right? Almost, but not quite.

The problem is that this still gives us no insight into the non-peroxide activity of the manuka honey.

Peroxide activity is not something that is unique to manuka honey. All honey can have peroxide activity. What makes manuka honey so valuable is its non-peroxide activity.

Peroxide activity in honey breaks down very rapidly once it comes into contact with human saliva or blood. In other words, once the honey is consumed or placed on an open cut, it loses its antibacterial strength very quickly. The NPA in manuka honey doesn’t break down like hydrogen peroxide and its antibacterial activity is much more resilient when it comes into contact with saliva or blood.

Close, but no cigar.

Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s doesn’t really even use a rating system for their manuka honey. All they have on their product label is the number ’10+’.

What does that even mean..?

Presumably, this is supposed to convey the antibacterial activity of their honey but without any further explanation it really doesn’t mean anything.

Avoid Trader Joe’s manuka honey unless you’re just after the taste.


It’s possible that any of these brands could have manuka honey with NPA. The reality, though, is that there is high demand for manuka honey with high levels of NPA and people are willing to pay top dollar for it.

If any of these companies were selling manuka honey with high levels of NPA, they would be much better off displaying it on their product label and being able to sell their honey for double or triple their current prices.These companies are in the manuka honey business and are definitely aware of this.

Now that you know which brands to avoid, check out our roundup of the best manuka honey brands. We looked at dozens of brands and picked the best ones based on quality and price.