Clearing up mānuka honey aisle confusion

Clearing up mānuka honey aisle confusion

New research highlights that while increased awareness of New Zealand mānuka honey continues to boost export returns in in Europe, USA and China, most shoppers still find the process of buying it confusing.

The research undertaken by the UMF™ Honey Association considered answers from more than 2000 consumers globally to provide insights into their inclination, motivation and behaviour when buying mānuka honey.

Consumers find it difficult to cut through the confusion in the honey aisle, with nearly half of them (44%) not knowing which one to buy due to a wide range of conflicting grading systems and ambiguous number ratings.

And while a series of one-on-one research interviews revealed that respondents understood manuka honey was good for them, many were unable to explain its specific health benefits, adding to the confusion.

The data also tracked how consumers felt once they learned the UMF quality mark is the only independent certification for pure, authentic, quality mānuka honey, with 73% saying they would be more likely to purchase it had they known.

Chief Executive UMF Honey Association John Rawcliffe says the research is critical because it provides a current window of understanding into the markets, consumer preferences and purchase barriers.

“It’s clear we need to help shoppers navigate the manuka honey category because they find it cluttered and confusing. That’s why we’re increasing our communications program in key markets and launching a new education hub on the UMFA website,” he says

Launch of new education hub

The UMFHA is currently working with its members to educate consumers and trade channels on what sets the UMF system apart from any other measurements or gradings in the market.

A key part of this includes a new education hub on the UMFHA website – a first of its kind in the category – to provide information that highlights the link between the UMF quality mark and premium quality mānuka honey brands.

“One of the key priorities for the UMFHA is to untangle and simplify New Zealand’s mānuka honey story and provide information that will help support mānuka honey brands, retailers and distributors meet the needs of confused consumers,” Rawcliffe says.

The hub will house training modules, sales and marketing information and current research studies. Over the next 12 months this will grow to include video, fact sheets, easy to understand illustrative guides and multi-lingual resources.          

“Consumers, retailers, and wholesalers around the world need to know that a jar of honey with the UMF quality mark means you can trust that its pure, potent, authentic, and fresh mānuka honey from New Zealand.

“We know making this connection will help drive a purchase decision in a category which is confusing for shoppers wanting to buy the real deal,” Rawcliffe says.

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