The UMF™ or ‘Unique Manuka Factor’ certification sits as the crown jewel for authenticating Manuka honey. The purpose of this gold standard is to ensure customers receive a promise towards quality, potency and authenticity.
This unique certification is determined by The UMF™ Honey Association™ (UMFHA), an independent and impartial organisation that oversees a majority of the pure monofloral Manuka honey from New Zealand.
This article is going to outline what requirements need to be met to be awarded UMF™ certification. Furthermore, this blog will highlight the importance of partnering with a leading Manuka honey supplier to deliver UMF™-worthy products consistently.
Why Are The 3 Bioactive Ingredients Important for UMF™ Certification?
The levels of MGO, leptosperin and DHA within Manuka honey are crucial to ensuring health benefits. The higher the above concentrations, the more effective the perceived health benefits are likely to be. Each ingredient corresponds to a specific property that is beneficial to the customer.
Methylglyoxal (MGO): MGO is the substance that scientists understand to be linked to anti-bacterial properties. According to a 2011 study by Hindawi, Manuka honey has been measured to have 100-fold higher concentrations of MGO than conventional honey.
Simply put, however, the higher the MGO - the higher the UMF™ grade. It is common for some Manuka honey brands to show just the MGO content; however, the UMF™ stamp of approval ensures purity and potency.
Leptosperin: This naturally occurring chemical is solely found in the Manuka nectar. In 2012, it was discovered to be a critical genetic marker of genuine Manuka Honey. To be certified with UMF™, the leptosperin must be at a level of at least 100mg/kg.
Dihydroxyacetone (DHA): DHA is the precursor molecule to MGO and is a crucial identifier of pure Manuka honey. The presence of DHA in Manuka honey products indicates that MGO is being produced in the natural process and not artificially planted.
How To Spot UMF™ Certified Manuka Honey Products?
There are two key features on all UMF™ certified Manuka honey products:
- Label - the label claiming genuine Manuka honey.
- Number - representing the concentration of the unique signature compounds
which include the key markers - leptosperin, DHA and methylglyoxal (MGO).
The number is a unique identifier of the potency of the product. UMF™ certifications can be graded from between 5+ and 32+. The higher number corresponds to the increased strength of bioactive ingredients.
Additionally, a Manuka honey producer must also meet the following requirements:
- Only companies that strictly comply with UMF™ Quality Standards and are licensed by the UMFHA are permitted to use the UMF™ Quality Trademark
- UMF™ can only be used on genuine Manuka honey from New Zealand
- The Manuka Honey is tested, packed and labelled in New Zealand
- Product testing results can be independently validated
- Meets the regulatory definition with our extra layer of quality testing
Finally, the UMF™ stamp of approval adds a layer of credibility, ensuring the potency and purity of the product. Manuka honey enthusiasts will be well-aware of this certification, and many look out for the seal of approval - particularly those who relish rare Manuka honey. The addition of the UMF™ certification will raise the eyebrows of Manuka honey connoisseurs around the world.
Why The Methylglyoxal (MGO) Grading System Isn’t Enough
In 2008, Professor Thomas Henle developed a system that would measure the MGO levels in Manuka honey. Many brands will use this metric solely to test the potency of a product, but only UMF™ will ensure all the boxes are ticked.
More than just MGO is needed to ensure Manuka honey is genuine. MGO is known to be synthetically added to some Manuka honey products and will subsequently lead to a lack of experienced health benefits. Moreover, this is why DHA is an integral part of the UMF™ certification process. A high-quality Manuka honey product will only be effective if it’s naturally occurring.
Why UMF™ Has Become The Gold Standard For Manuka Honey Worldwide
The UMF™ stamp of approval is a necessity for many across the world. The UMFHA has solidified its reputation with strict standards. The coveted label on Manuka honey products will ensure that the honey is:
- Produced, packed and labelled in New Zealand. Manuka honey is exclusively native to New Zealand. Overseas produced/packed honey could be mixed with other varieties of honey.
- Independently tested to identify the source and purity of the honey.
- Independently audited to ensure customers are receiving the correct potency of pure NZ Manuka honey.
- Proof of Authenticity - the UMF™ quality mark and certification is only awarded once every requirement is met.
- The UMF™ quality mark is only available to License holders that have met the stringent requirements of the UMFHA.
A higher UMF™ rating means more rich honey, which can be darker in colour and provide a richer earthy Manuka taste for your customers. Ratings with a UMF™ rating of above 10+ are considered high grades, and grades above 25+ are rare and ultra-premium.
Why Midlands Apiaries Is A Great Partner For Your Manuka Honey Brand
As the largest New Zealand supplier of wholesale Manuka honey globally, Midlands Apiaries knows a thing or two about quality. An accredited laboratory tests each batch of Manuka honey from Midlands Apiaries for certification. We are very aware of the stringent requirements set forth by UMF™ and exceed the minimum chemical requirements for certification.
Additionally, Midlands Apiaries offers the services of a highly knowledgeable marketing team. So if you’re looking to bring an amazing brand to market, our team of professionals can plan a pathway to your launch. With an extensive network of honey supplies, laboratories, and state of the art packing facility - Midlands Apiaries can provide your business with everything it needs.
Get in touch with us today for more information about how Midlands Apiaries can make for a beneficial partner in your budding business.