I am writing this review after so many people emailed and messaged me regarding this brand. Apparently, there is some controversy going around the internet regarding the legitimacy of this manuka brand.
To be clear, this honey is not licensed under the UMFHA. As such, they are not allowed to place the UMF mark on their jars.
Opening my first jar of Trader Joe’s manuka honey reviewed a lighter than usual color. Most manuka products that I have tested are very thick and have a deeper color like maple syrup. This one is not as thick as the other UMF 10+ products and its color is lighter mix of orange and red.
Having said that, color often depends on the type of bush, season and other harvesting factors.
Another thing that stroke me as interesting was the taste. I am used to manuka not tasting like regular honey, at all! This product was the opposite. Its taste came pretty close to sugary table honey. Not something that I like. At least not when I am spending 10 times what I spend on table honey.
A year ago, all of Trader Joe’s jars came with the UMF mark. I emailed them to ask the reason behind the removal of the UMF sticker. The company was kind enough to reply and explain that in order for them to use the UMF trademark, they would have to pay extra money. According to them, this would have also resulted in an increase of their prices.
Trader Joe’s claim that the quality of the honey before and after the UMF trademark was present is the same. Their only reason for removing it seems to be their lack of desire to raise the price of their products.
Not being listed on the UMF Honey Association’s website makes this brand lose legitimacy. If you are looking for manuka honey for medicinal purposes, I would recommend you stay away from this particular product. There are 64 companies licensed under the UMFHA, so it’s not like you do not have a choice.
I would say that the 10+ mark that they have on their label is rather misleading. If their product is not tested by a third party and proven to have certain percentage of manuka in it, their claims for UMF 10+ are without grounds.
Trader Joe’s manuka honey would not be my first choice.