The last time I went to Trader Joe’s it seemed like the shelves were nearly overflowing with all of the different types of honey. It can be confusing sorting through the different options especially as the labelling contains so many different terms.
If we ignore all of the flavored honeys, then there are basically four different types of honey at Trader Joe’s that vary considerably in price.
- Multi-Floral: $0.27 per ounce
- Organic Unfiltered: $0.37 per ounce
- Organic Raw: $0.37 per ounce
- Manuka: $1.59 per ounce
Let’s walk through the different options so you can decide which type of honey is right for you.
Multi-Floral Honey – Product of USA
The Multi-Floral & Clover honey is the type of honey I purchase.
This honey, which is a product of the USA, is tasty and the least expensive option on a per ounce basis.
Some people will not buy this honey because it is not labelled Organic and that is unfortunate.
The reason that this honey is not labelled as Organic is that it is currently not legal for any US based producer of honey to put an Organic label on their product.
The USDA has not developed a standard to officially define the qualifications for honey to be considered Organic and as a result, until that standard is developed, no honey produced in the United States can be labelled as Organic.
Organic Unfiltered Honey – Product of Uruguay
Next up on the list is the Organic Unfiltered Honey that is a product of Uruguay and is similar to the Organic honey at Costco.
This honey does carry a USDA Organic label which seems completely contradictory as I just said that the USDA does not have an Organic certification process for honey.
What is happening here is that while the USDA does not have an Organic standard for honey, Uruguay does. Since the USDA formally recognizes the organic certifications from other countries this honey gets a “Pass Through” certification.
The USDAs willingness to label honey produced outside of the USA as Organic while preventing any honey produced inside the USA from carrying the same certification is a large point of frustration for US based honey producers.
The “Unfiltered” on the label indicates that the honey has not gone through an ultra-filtration step to remove pollen and as a result may contain more healthy “natural products”.
While the honey has not been “filtered” it has been strained to remove any flecks of honeycomb, dead bees, etc.
This honey is not labelled as “Raw” which suggests it has been heated. Most producers heat their honey to destroy yeast spores that can ferment the honey during storage and create a sour taste.
Organic Raw Honey – Product of Brazil
Next up on the list is the Organic Raw Honey that is a product of Brazil.
The Organic certification on this honey is the same deal as the Unfiltered honey from Uruguay. Brazil has an Organic certification protocol in place that is recognized by the USDA so this honey gets a “Pass Through” certification from the USDA.
There is no standard definition for what constitutes “Raw” honey but in general it refers to honey that has not been filtered or heated.
It has not been scientifically proven but many people believe that Raw honey has superior health benefits over heated and filtered honey as natural anti-oxidants can be destroyed in a heating process.
Because the honey has not been filtered or heated it typically contains many more smaller particles like pollen that can cause the honey to become cloudy.
Manuka Honey – Product of New Zealand
Last up on the list is Manuka honey which is a product of New Zealand and is produced by bees that pollinate Manuka bushes.
There are a LOT of claims about the health benefits of Manuka honey but I would suggest taking them with a grain of salt. Let’s start with the basics.
Manuka honey has a high concentration of a compound, methylglyoxal, that has been proven to have anti-bacterial properties. Because of these anti-bacterial properties Manuka honey has been approved by the FDA for use in treating wounds and burns.
There are claims that this honey has a plethora of other health benefits including improving dental health, helping with irritable bowl syndrome, preventing gastric ulcers, etc.
In the limited research that I have performed on the topic it seems uncertain if any of the other purported health benefits are real or not as study sizes have been small and the benefits are difficult to quantify.
All I know for sure is that this stuff costs almost six times as much as the Multi Floral honey and is something that will never end up in my shopping cart 🙂