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Gavin Smith

Manuka madness and the next snake oil

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Sweet obsession: China’s manuka madness

 

 

All told, the total value of New Zealand honey exports reached NZ$187m ($121.5m) in 2014, up from NZ$36m ($23.7m) in 2005. And it could get much bigger: the government’s goal is to grow manuka honey into a NZ$1.2bn ($779 million) per year industry by 2028 becoming as valuable to the country as the wine industry.

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I don't believe Manuka used in medical wound care is snake oil. Everyone agrees on that right?

 

I have read that when used as medical grade honey in dressings the very high activity grade is worth $330 p/KG. A lot more of that grade in dressings will have to be sold to meet the government's target methinks.

 

I've read the 2014 Apiculture Review and from it it looks like the p/KG value of NZ honey has almost doubled in a few years. I am wondering if that is solely due to; the increase in price in manuka (I.e. Non-manuka honey is still a similar price), a price increase in all NZ honey in export markets (possibly due to good press due to manuka internationally?) or simply global supply / demand changes - raising the price of all honey globally. Anecdotally it also seems that the price of bees has gone up a lot in NZ in the last few years.

 

So I find myself wondering that if manuka is the cause of higher valued NZ honey of all types and higher priced bees, isn't manuka good for SI honey and bee/queen producers? I.e. They benefit from an increase in the price of the honey and bees they sell - without having to put up with the NI manuka cowboys and their associated problems.

 

Please help someone new understand the lack of SI love for manuka...

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Except the wine industry isn't snake oil.

.

Sure it is.

 

For years we were told how good red wine is for heart health. Only problem is, most medical research and resulting recommendations state that not only does red wine not significantly benefit heart health, but alcohol even in small amounts has negative effects.

 

Alcohol is in fact now considered to have negative effects all around, even at quite low levels.

 

I'm glad I'm not marketing for the wine industry and trying to spin that one. At least there are few studies showing honey has negative effects!

 

All this coming from a confirmed red wine drinker of course - I do my bit to support that industry. But you take my point - consumers will consume what they want to consume. Most things that are good in life have some downside (even bacon apparently :eek:) but at least honey likely does little harm.

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I thought wine counted towards my 5 plus a day. Am I going to have to eat an extra apple today? :eek:

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Yeah sorry about that - didn't want to bring everyone's day down.

 

We'll get told off for going off thread anyway, so best not to go down that track!

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Jezza the points you make are quite correct, and in fact there has been great spin offs even to beekeepers who do not produce high grade Manuka.

Where the issues come in is that as well as the positives there has been negatives, mostly in the form of cowboy behaviour, and crazy site rents, even now apparently, for wintering sites with no Manuka or even forage expected. There may also be a looming AFB bomb. So not everyone is a fan but as I see it, virtually all NZ beekeepers are better off now than if Manuka was worth next to nothing, like it used to be.

 

The wine thing is a very good example of how statistics can be produced to support anything. The original study looked at a large number of people for a long time period, and not just at their wine consumption but all aspects of their diet, income bracket, and lifestyle. It found that those that drank a modest amount of red wine lived longer than those who did not.

Of course this was immediately seized on by the wine industry, heavily publicized, and before too long everyone was thinking they'd be healthier if they drank a glass or two of wine every day.

 

It was many years later that another team used the SAME data collected in the original study, but looked at it closer. They found that the people who drank a modest amount of red wine daily, also ate more fruit, less junk food, and had healthier lifestyles. The researchers were then able to find people in the study who had similar lifestyles but just without the red wine, and found that they in fact lived a tad longer, There was also a group that drank the wine but did not have the other good habits, and they lived shorter.

 

So in the end, the wine did not make people live longer, it tended to be enjoyed by people likely to live longer anyway.

 

The fallacy of statistics!

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i dont expect wine to heal my burns just as I dont expect manuka honey to cure my peptic ulcer.

Do people even care about health benefits when drinking wine?

I dont even give a second thought.

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if consumers think eating a teaspoon a day of 5+ does them good then it wont matter what kind of honey is in the jar as long as it has the Manuka label it will do the job.

Where I see the problem is actively perpetuating the myth that honey less than NPA 10 has health benefits and trying to fit a manuka standard around this.

 

Which is the biggest lie selling a low NPA traditional manuka kanuka blend as manuka honey or a NPA 5+ With 2/3rds of the honey content being Rewarewa?

 

If something is perceived and not real then it doesnt matter whats in the jar its a crock either way.

.

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Last time I bought manuka honey it was $5. That was per 27 point something kg container; which works out to being less than 20 cents per kg.

With all that antibacterial activity, eating the stuff can't be doing any good for the gut bacteria. I understand that it's more use to smear it on the genitals.

------------------------------

Mirrors on the hive mats

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if consumers think eating a teaspoon a day of 5+ does them good then it wont matter what kind of honey is in the jar as long as it has the Manuka label it will do the job.

Where I see the problem is actively perpetuating the myth that honey less than NPA 10 has health benefits and trying to fit a manuka standard around this.

 

Which is the biggest lie selling a low NPA traditional manuka kanuka blend as manuka honey or a NPA 5+ With 2/3rds of the honey content being Rewarewa?

 

If something is perceived and not real then it doesnt matter whats in the jar its a crock either way.

.

Lots of folk say grace, pray and donate to the church.

Personally Id rather buy a pot of manuka honey

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I believe there is a world wide shortage of high quality, natural tasty unadulterated honey, and because of recent bulk shipments of crap from many asian and third world banana republics, many affluent countries won't have a bar of it. NZ sits at the top of the trust tree, basically due to our rigid food standards from a way back

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I believe there is a world wide shortage of high quality, natural tasty unadulterated honey, and because of recent bulk shipments of crap from many asian and third world banana republics, many affluent countries won't have a bar of it. NZ sits at the top of the trust tree, basically due to our rigid food standards from a way back

 

I think you're probably right, but the great bulk of honey consumers have most probably never tasted any honey other than the factorised stuff, and don't know what they're missing.

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Yes, we are in agreement (I think) that spoonerised is Real honey ...

:)

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Until relatively recent times, Asian countries have used honey to sweeten food, and now with the research and publicity regarding white sugar, even after the manuka madness penny drops, demand and price for honey will still remain higher than previously.

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I've just joined the madness, bought a few shares in Comvita.....

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I've just joined the madness, bought a few shares in Comvita.....

Traitor :mask:

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Let's just have a ball and sort out the terms "scrotum" and "testicle" ...

 

Lots more puns to come ...

 

:)

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...it's more use to smear it on the genitals.

------------------------------

Mirrors on the hive mats

Whose? And to cure what?

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i dont expect wine to heal my burns just as I dont expect manuka honey to cure my peptic ulcer.

Do people even care about health benefits when drinking wine?

I dont even give a second thought.

But what about 2lids of applecider vinegar. Teaspoon of honey in water? Just a thought it sorted my gallstones pretty quick. :)

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But what about 2lids of applecider vinegar. Teaspoon of honey in water? Just a thought it sorted my gallstones pretty quick. :)

 

Coincidence

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Interesting comments here .... I sometimes wonder fraz if you ever do any bee keeping as you seem to spend so much time on this site !

Anyway, that aside, a few months ago we had a visit from our long time honey buyer. He's been taking our South island clover honey for almost twenty years. It was more of a social visit than anything as we had nothing of consequence to offer him. His outside

view of our industry was fascinating.

This year he wasn't terribly interested in clover. Yummy though it is he was concerned at the price he was going to have to pay .... $13.00 a kilo. He could source Canada No I at round about $3.00 a kg.

So there is the dilemma, and possible the reason why so many South Island bees are heading north - we've priced our selves out of the clover market.

He'll take the Dew, possibly because he can blend it with the Manuka, and he'll take the low grade Manuka up to a price of $20.00 a kilo.

When asked about the top end Manuka his comment was that he'd end up a nervous wreck if he had to sit on a stock pile of 14plus umf for too long.

I guess as producers we have to look at our markets. The new Manuka guidelines are apparently out which will quite possibly drop the tonnage considerably of high quality Manuka for sale, snowballing to a feeling of resistance by Beekeepers to pay humungous royalties to landowners for both summer and winter sites ....

Lets hope we don't price ourselves out of the Manuka market as well. That would be a shame as it has generated so much confidence in the industry and created so many little niche enterprises for families from raising cells and queens to selling nucs and hives (at exorbitant prices) that keep the fabric of this country in their little patches of paradise.

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