New Zealand

Opening of biggest manuka plant reflects growth in honey's popularity

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Sales have increased by almost one-third for Manuka Health in the last year
Sales have increased by almost one-third for Manuka Health in the last year

Related tags Scientific method Honey

New Zealand’s biggest honey plant has opened its doors to help ease pressure on one manuka producer by tripling its production.

Manuka Health spent NZ$10m (US$7.8) on the purpose-built honey processing and distribution centre in Te Awamutu, on North Island. The expenditure is justified by manuka honey being a key ingredient in Manuka Health’s product portfolio, the company said in a statement.

Trade potential

Through this development, we will be bringing the world’s attention to the value of manuka honey and the potential for trade and development. This new facility will enable us to continue our growth and increase exports​,” said Manuka Health chief executive Kerry Paul. 

The discovery that methylglyoxal (MGO) was behind the stable antibacterial activity in manuka honey opened up the market for Manuka Health by providing a credible marketing statement for its honey.

Racing ahead

This year saw a 30% increase in sales over 2013, pushing the company to strengthen its distribution network. Now the new North Island plant will help Manuka Health to improve efficiency and triple its production from 672 tonnes to 2,200 tonnes to meet demand.

Paul said research and development needs to keep pace with volume growth.

We have taken a simple, raw product and through scientific methods we are able to preserve the bioactivity and potency of the natural ingredients​.  

This innovative work improves the honey and makes it into a world leading, high value food and health product. We are committed to continuing R&D to provide the scientific evidence to support our product development​.”

Manuka Health opened for business in 2006 and now exports to 45 countries.

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