Trader Joe’s Manuka Honey Review

Trader Joe's Manuka Honey Review

People love Trader Joe’s manuka honey but there’s been some controversy concerning the quality of the honey.

In our Trader Joe’s manuka honey review, we’ll take a close look at their manuka honey and explain why you may want to look elsewhere if you’re after medicinal manuka honey. 

About Trader Joe’s

If you’re here, you’re probably already familiar with Trader Joe’s. I won’t bore you by telling you things you already know about them.

There is one point in particular about Trader Joe’s that I do want to bring up as it’s important in the context of this review:

  • Trader Joe’s is a specialty foods store that places a huge emphasis on value.

I’ll explain why that’s important in a minute. Just keep it in mind for now.

Trader Joe’s Manuka Honey Controversy

Before we get any further into this review, I need to come clean.

I love Trader Joe’s.

I’d shop there all the time if I could.

Their selection and quality of their products is great and their prices are super reasonable compared to other specialty foods stores like Whole Foods (or “Whole Paycheck” as some people like to call it).

That’s why I was a bit disappointed when I looked at their manuka honey.

Is Trader Joe’s Manuka Honey UMF Certified?

For those unfamiliar, UMF is a grading standard used to convey the quality of manuka honey.

I covered the topic of manuka grading standards in depth in this article. Here are the main takeaways from the article are:

  • Not all manuka honey has therapeutic qualities.
  • The UMF grading standard independently verifies the therapeutic quality of manuka honey.
  • Just because manuka honey has a number on the label doesn’t mean it’s UMF certified.
  • The UMF trademark has to be on the label for it to be UMF certified manuka honey.

Trader Joe’s Manuka Honey used to have a “UMF 10+” rating on their label.

Now though, if you look at their honey, it just has the number “10+” on the label:

Trader Joe's Manuka Honey

So, whats the deal? Is it UMF certified or isn’t it?

Well, the short answer is no. The long answer is a little bit more involved.

Trader Joe’s Explanation

According to one reviewer on Amazon, when asked whether or not their manuka honey is UMF certified, here’s what Trader Joe’s had to say (emphasis is mine):

When we first introduced our Trader Joe’s Manuka Honey, we were told by the producer that using the registered UMF mark and a UMF 10 rating was appropriate and our label reflected that. We subsequently learned of requirements from the association managing the mark (an outside third-party certification source) that did not fit our business and we therefore have since removed the UMF mark from our labeling. The primary reason is that bearing the mark would stand to increase the cost of the product. However, please note that neither the source nor the quality of the honey has changed.

So, according to Trader Joe’s, certifying their honey under the UMF grading system would have forced them to raise the cost of their manuka honey.

Considering Trader Joe’s focus on value that I mentioned earlier, this is a pretty understandable concern.

Unfortunately, one of their strongest selling points is what let them down in this case.

UMF certification is a big deal in the world of manuka honey. Forgoing certification to make their product slightly cheaper is a shame in my opinion.

What’s the verdict?

At the end of the day, it really comes down to how much you trust the Trader Joe’s brand and how you plan to use your manuka honey.

If you’re just going to use it as a nutritious sugar alternative, then Trader Joe’s manuka honey should be fine. If you plan to use it medicinally, I’d look for a different brand.

Personally, I love Trader Joe’s products, but I don’t see much benefit in buying a honey that may or may not have the equivalent grade of a UMF 10+ manuka honey.

This is especially true when you consider that there are plenty of other great quality manuka honeys that are similarly priced (sometimes cheaper) and are actually UMF certified.

Despite being on the cheaper end of the spectrum, Trader Joe’s Manuka honey is still much more expensive that regular honey. If you’re going to spend that much, why not make sure you get the real deal?

Check out Steen’s UMF 10+ Raw Manuka Honey if you’re looking for another option. It’s similarly priced to Trader Joe’s, is UMF certified, and is raw honey to boot!

The only time I’d consider buying Trader Joe’s manuka honey is if you can get it for about half of what Steen’s UMF 10+ manuka honey costs.

You can check the price on Trader Joe’s manuka honey here.