The difference between MGO & UMF Mānuka Honey

The labels MGO and UMF on jars of Mānuka honey puzzle a lot of consumers. In this post, we unveil why they are there, what the letters stand for, and what honey producers mean by them.


What are the differences between UMF and MGO?

UMF and MGO are standardised indicators of the concentration of some of the bioactive chemical compounds found in manuka honey in any given sample of the stuff. Bioactive chemical compounds, when applied to your skin or digested in your digestive tract, are able to give your body unique assistance in resisting infection, improving skin health and aiding digestion. UMF and MGO are two individual grading systems. UMF is an acronym meaning Unique Manuka Factor. UMF is a complete and advanced grading system. It incorporates the measurement of MG (MGO) levels, but also includes additional testing of authenticity markers of the Manuka Honey. This includes dihydroxyacetone and leptosperin. UMF is an indicator of quality and purity of manuka honey. MGO stands for methylglyoxal, the naturally occurring compound that makes Manuka Honey so unique. An MGO rating is a standardised measure of methyglyoxal content and is an indicator of quality.


Is UMF or MGO better?

Because UMF is a complete, advanced grading system, it is a purer indicator; but MGO is simpler and more straightforward to test. Therefore, you cannot say one is more reliable than another.

What are the different gradings?

A UMF grading is usually between 5 and 25. A UMF 30 honey is possible but uncommon. An MGO grading will be between double digits and 2000 (above 2000 is not common).

In our honeys, MGO rating is expressed as [number]+, indicating that the methylglyoxal content is the number or above.

Although UMF and MGO measure different things, there is still a relationship between MGO and UMF values.

Below is a table of rough parities.

UMF 5 = MGO83

UMF10 = MGO263

UMF15 = MGO514

UMF20 = MGO829

UMF25 = MGO1200

What are different grades of manuka honey for?

Low grades, between UMF 5 and UMF 10 are Table Grade Manuka Honey. These honeys are safe for daily ingestion. Low to mid grades of UMF 10 to UMF 15 are called Therapeutic Grade. These honeys are good for short term consumption. 

Stronger grades have more potency. This means they can fight more powerful or even dangerous bacterial infections.

Any honeys from UMF15 to UMF20 are Antibacterial Grade and useful for skin therapy. UMF20 to UMF25 is a Superior Antibacterial Grade, for very bad wounds. 

What honey does Aotea stock?

Aotea stocks MGO 125+, 300+, 500+ and 800+. We can serve both your antibacterial needs with our premium grade honey and your table needs or everyday dietary wants and needs with MGO 125+.