Exporting food: go global with New Zealand’s Manuka honey

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Unique to New Zealand, and to a lesser extent Australia, Manuka honey is and has become increasingly popular in recent years for its purported health benefits. In fact, Manuka honey is now being used in a wide range of products, from skincare and cosmetics to food and drinks. A type of honey that is derived from the nectar of the Manuka tree Leptospermum scoparium, which is native to New Zealand,  Manuka honey is also known as the New Zealand tea tree as early pioneers used their leaves to make a tea-like beverage.

Given its popularity, it’s no surprise that exporting New Zealand’s Manuka honey has become a lucrative business. If you’re thinking of getting involved in this growing industry, here’s what you need to know about exporting this popular health food.

Hitting the sweet spot in exports 

Due to scientific studies showing how the honey has antibacterial, antiviral, and numerous other health benefits when consumed or applied to specific parts of the human body,  the global Manuka honey market is growing at a rapid pace and is projected to hit US$1,032.73 million by the end of 2028, according to Market Research Future.

Not only is this honey popular in the Oceania region, but demand for Manuka honey has also been on the rise, with North America, Asia, and Europe being the biggest importers. This is largely attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the consumers’ interest in the wellness features of this particular honey piqued, hence the increase in the number of people becoming more health-conscious and wanting to find natural alternatives to boost their health and immunity.

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Manuka honey: UMF Rating and MGO Level 

Generally there are two unit standards used to indicate the strength of Manuka honey, these are the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) and the Methylglyoxal (MGO) Level, with buyers choosing UMF or MGO ratings to differentiate between premium and low-grade Manuka honey. 

The UMF rating is the mark of high-grade Manuka honey and is independently tested and verified. The grading system goes from 5+ to 20+, with the higher numbers meaning a higher concentration of antibacterial properties. In addition, the MGO level is also used as an indicator of strength, as  this is the compound that gives Manuka honey its antibacterial properties. The higher the level of MGO, the higher the UMF rating, and the better quality of the honey.

Finding the right markets and partners

While there is a global demand for Manuka honey, some markets are more lucrative than others. As such, it’s important to do your research and target the countries that offer the best opportunities for growth. At the moment, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, and China are the biggest importers of Manuka honey.

In terms of finding the right partners, it’s important to work with a company that has experience in exporting food products here in New Zealand. They will be able to advise you on the best way to package and ship your honey so that it arrives at its destination in good condition. They will also be up-to-date with the latest import and export regulations so that you can avoid any potential delays or problems at customs.

Shipping and logistics

When it comes to sending Manuka honey from New Zealand to various countries overseas, there are a few things you need to take into account. Firstly, you need to make sure that your honey is packaged correctly so that it doesn’t leak or get damaged during transportation. You also need to take into account the different food safety standards that are in place in New Zealand as well as internationally for each country

It’s also important to choose the right shipping method so that your honey arrives at its destination on time and in good condition. Airfreight is generally the best option as it’s the quickest way to get your product to market. However, it is more expensive than shipping by sea. You will need to weigh up the costs and benefits of each shipping method to decide which is best for your business.

Also, prior to exporting, you will have to prepare the necessary export documents to ship out of New Zealand. Do note that there are New Zealand government requirements to abide by, and you’ll have to search for your destination country’s market requirements to ensure that your product meets all the requirements. 

Support your food export business with premium logistics from DHL Express

As a leading international express services provider, DHL Express New Zealand is well-positioned to support your food export business with our extensive global network and experience in handling perishable goods. We offer a range of solutions to help you get your Manuka honey to market quickly and efficiently via a seamless and fuss-free shipping experience. Open your DHL Express account today to start shipping.