Narissa Harvey is manager of Happy Valley Honey, which was founded in South Auckland in 1975. Happy Valley began producing fresh royal jelly in 1990 and it remains the only commercial producers of NZ royal jelly. The family-run company specialises in honey and hive health and wellbeing products from New Zealand hives.
Says Narissa, “The market has been inundated with manuka honey brands, but many of them can’t certify the origin of the honey from New Zealand and often come with mystifying ratings on the side of the jar. If you are confused, we are not surprised.”
The phrase to look for is UMF (unique manuka factor). It’s a trademark that only licensed members of the manuka honey producers’ association can use. Members help fund scientific research and honour independent testing and quality measures.
“The higher the UMF number, the more of the signature compound in the jar,” advises Narissa. Happy Valley honey’s range goes from UMF5+ to UMF20+.
Consumers should also check that the honey has been produced in New Zealand by a local packer and manufacturer and that the brand owns its hives and can trace the source of its honey, so they choose a brand they can trust.