Differences between UMF and MGO

Differences Between MGO and UMF

Manuka honey, celebrated for its remarkable properties and health benefits, has captivated the attention of consumers worldwide. Originating from the nectar of the Manuka bush in New Zealand and Australia, this honey variety is renowned for its unique composition and therapeutic effects.

However, understanding the differences between the MGO and UMF grading systems is essential for discerning consumers seeking the highest quality Manuka honey. In this article we'll have a look at how MGO and UMF play a pivotal part in determining the quality of Manuka. For a start, let's have a look at what MGO and UMF truly are.



Who hasn't come across MGO and UMF when shopping for Manuka Honey? Let's dive right in and explain what MGO and UMF are! Methylglyoxal (MGO) is a naturally occurring organic compound found in varying concentrations within Manuka honey. It is a key component responsible for the unique therapeutic properties that characterise this exceptional honey variety. MGO is formed in the honey through the conversion of dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a precursor compound present in the nectar of the Manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium), during the honey's maturation process.

In Manuka honey, MGO serves as a pivotal indicator of antibacterial potency, contributing to the honey's renowned health benefits. Studies have shown that MGO exhibits potent antibacterial activity against a wide range of harmful bacteria, making Manuka honey a valuable natural remedy for wound healing, immune support, and gastrointestinal health.

The concentration of MGO in manuka honey can vary significantly, ranging from trace amounts to levels exceeding 2000 mg/kg. Higher MGO ratings correspond to increased antibacterial activity, with some manuka honey products labeled with specific MGO ratings to provide consumers with information about the honey's potency.

Additionally, research suggests that MGO may possess antioxidant properties, helping to neutralise free radicals and promote cellular health. This dual action of MGO as both an antibacterial agent and an antioxidant further contributes to the therapeutic potential of manuka honey.

By recognising MGO as a key component responsible for the honey's unique properties, individuals can harness the benefits of this remarkable natural remedy for various health applications. But how are MGO and UMF different?


MGO and UMF - lab testing
Testing of MGO and UMF in a lab. 


Conversely, the UMF grading system offers a more comprehensive assessment of Manuka honey's overall quality and efficacy. UMF, which stands for Unique Manuka Factor, considers multiple factors beyond methylglyoxal, including DHA (Dihydroxyacetone) and leptosperin. These key markers collectively contribute to the honey's antibacterial activity and therapeutic potential. The UMF rating scale ranges from 0 to 20+, with higher ratings indicating superior quality and stronger health benefits.

Beyond its antibacterial properties, UMF-rated Manuka honey is valued for its diverse range of health-promoting effects. Research suggests that the combination of methylglyoxal, DHA, and leptosperin in UMF-rated honey may offer enhanced wound healing, immune support, and digestive health benefits. Therefore, by considering the UMF rating alongside other factors, such as origin and processing methods, consumers can make educated choices when selecting Manuka honey products that align with their health and wellness goals. Now let's have a look at how MGO and UMF compare.



While both MGO and UMF grading systems serve as valuable indicators of Manuka honey's quality, they approach the assessment from different perspectives. MGO provides a straightforward measure of the honey's antibacterial potential by focusing solely on the concentration of methylglyoxal. In contrast, UMF offers a more holistic evaluation, taking into account multiple factors such as DHA and leptosperin to determine the honey's overall potency and efficacy. This, potentially, is the biggest difference between MGO and UMF.

In practice, the choice between MGO and UMF ratings often comes down to personal preference and specific health needs and ultimately, both MGO and UMF grading systems provide valuable information to assist consumers in selecting high-quality manuka honey products that meet their individual requirements. 



But what are the differences in the use of MGO and UMF among Manuka producers? In the Manuka honey industry, both MGO and UMF grading systems are widely utilised to classify and certify the quality of products. Manufacturers and suppliers adhere to these grading standards to provide transparency and assurance to consumers regarding the authenticity and potency of their honey. However, it is essential to recognise that both MGO and UMF grading systems are proprietary and not regulated by any government or independent body.

As a result, variations in grading may exist among different brands and products. To address this concern, consumers are encouraged to conduct thorough research and purchase Manuka honey from reputable suppliers. By doing so, they can ensure that they are receiving genuine Manuka honey products with accurate MGO and UMF ratings, thereby maximising the potential health benefits associated with this prized natural remedy.



In examining the intricate qualities of Manuka honey, understanding the distinctions between MGO and UMF grading systems is paramount. Both MGO and UMF serve as pivotal metrics in evaluating the potency and authenticity of this revered honey variety. To provide clarity, we present a comparative table below, highlighting how MGO and UMF ratings correlate with different levels of antibacterial potency and health benefits.

UMF MGO Potency (MGO and UMF)
4+ 50+ Low
5+ 83+ Low
6+ 111+ Low
7+ 144+ Low
8+ 180+ Low
9+ 219+ Medium
10+ 263+ Medium
11+ 306+ Medium
12+ 354+ Medium
13+ 404+ Medium/High
14+ 457+ Medium/High
15+ 514+ Medium/High
16+ 570+ High
17+ 631+ High
18+ 693+ High
19+ 759+ High
20+ 829+ Very High
21+ 896+ Very High
22+ 968+ Very High
23+ 1042+ Very High
24+ 1122+ Very High
25+ 1197+ Ultra High
26+ 1282+ Ultra High
27+ 1360+ Ultra High
28+ 1445+ Ultra High
29+ 1532+ Ultra High (Rare Manuka)
30+ 1620+ Ultra High (Rare Manuka)
31+ 1711+ Ultra High (Rare Manuka)
32+ 1804+ Ultra High (Rare Manuka)
33+ 1900+ Ultra High (Rare Manuka)



When it comes to choosing the right Manuka honey, discerning consumers should consider various factors beyond just MGO and UMF ratings. Firstly, it's crucial to verify the honey's authenticity by ensuring that it comes from reputable suppliers and is certified by recognised organisations. Look for labels that indicate the honey's origin, such as "100% New Zealand Manuka Honey" or "Australian Manuka Honey" to guarantee its provenance. Additionally, consider the honey's processing methods, as raw and minimally processed varieties may retain more of their beneficial compounds compared to heavily processed alternatives. By taking these factors into account and trusting MGO and UMF, consumers can make informed decisions to select Manuka honey products that align with their quality and authenticity standards.

Moreover, individual health needs and preferences should also influence the selection process. Whether seeking honey for wound healing, immune support, or general well-being, understanding personal requirements can guide consumers toward products with the appropriate potency and therapeutic benefits. Consulting with healthcare professionals or experts in natural remedies can provide further guidance in selecting the right Manuka honey tailored to specific health goals. By considering these aspects alongside MGO and UMF ratings, consumers can confidently choose high-quality Manuka honey that meets their needs and expectations.

Check Ratings: Look for MGO and UMF ratings on labels to gauge quality and benefits.

Consider Benefits: MGO shows antibacterial strength, while UMF rates overall quality and health benefits.

Trust Certifications: Buy from trusted sources with certified MGO and UMF ratings for genuine Manuka honey.



In conclusion, the MGO and UMF grading systems play vital roles in assessing the quality and potency of manuka honey, each offering unique insights into the honey's properties. While MGO provides a straightforward measure of antibacterial activity based on methylglyoxal concentration, UMF offers a more comprehensive evaluation by considering multiple factors contributing to the honey's efficacy. Both MGO and UMF systems serve as valuable tools for consumers seeking authentic and high-quality Manuka honey products. While looking at MGO and UMF it's important to make sure the honey batch you are purchasing has been tested. 

However, it's essential to acknowledge that MGO and UMF ratings are not the sole indicators of honey quality. Factors such as authenticity, processing methods, and individual health needs should also be considered when selecting Manuka honey. By conducting thorough research, verifying authenticity, and understanding personal preferences, consumers can make informed decisions to choose manuka honey products that offer genuine therapeutic benefits. In this way, consumers can maximize the potential health benefits associated with this exceptional natural remedy and incorporate it into their daily wellness routines with confidence.

We hope that this article was helpful in explaining the differences between MGO and UMF. If you have questions on MGO and UMF ratings for individual jars, don't hesitate to contact us here!

Best Manuka

The Author: Beppe

Beppe, the founder of Manuka Hut, is passionately dedicated to sourcing the finest Manuka honey from the pristine landscapes of Australia and New Zealand. His focus on authenticity and quality ensures customer satisfaction worldwide.

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What is the difference between MGO and UMF in Manuka honey?

MGO and UMF are two grading systems used to assess the quality of Manuka honey. MGO measures the concentration of methylglyoxal, a key compound responsible for Manuka honey's antibacterial properties. In contrast, UMF provides a more comprehensive evaluation, considering multiple factors including methylglyoxal, dihydroxyacetone (DHA), and leptosperin to determine the honey's overall potency and efficacy.

How do MGO and UMF ratings compare in determining the quality of Manuka honey?

MGO ratings directly correlate with the concentration of methylglyoxal, indicating the honey's antibacterial activity. UMF ratings, on the other hand, offer a broader assessment by incorporating additional markers like DHA and leptosperin. Higher UMF ratings indicate superior overall quality and stronger health benefits beyond antibacterial effects.

Why should consumers consider both MGO and UMF ratings when purchasing Manuka honey?

Considering both MGO and UMF ratings provides consumers with comprehensive information about the honey's quality and therapeutic potential. MGO offers clarity on antibacterial strength, while UMF provides a holistic view encompassing various beneficial compounds. Together, MGO and UMF can help consumers make informed choices based on their specific health needs and preferences.

How can consumers ensure they are purchasing authentic Manuka honey with accurate MGO and UMF ratings?

It's crucial to buy Manuka honey from reputable suppliers who adhere to stringent quality standards and certifications. Look for labels that specify the honey's origin (e.g., "100% New Zealand Manuka Honey" or "Australian Manuka Honey") and verify that it carries certified MGO and UMF ratings. By doing so, consumers can be confident they are purchasing genuine Manuka honey with verified potency and authenticity.

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