Insights on Honey's Expiry - Does Honey Spoil?

Manuka honey is so versatile and has so many great benefits – we all want to make sure we are having a daily spoonful that is a goodness boost. 


People have been asking about what and why there are expiry dates printed on the side of our honey pots.  We’ve got the answers.

In short: No, honey does not go bad.

Honey has a low water content and high acidity, so it's an unfriendly place for bacteria to thrive. As long as the lid stays on and the honey stays free of added moisture, honey can be stored in the cupboard indefinitely. Remember not to dip a spoon into the jar if it’s been somewhere else, like in your tea, jam jar or nut butter.


But first some history… Did you know honey has been found inside Egyptian Pyramids?

Natural, properly preserved honey should not expire, Archeologists found honey thousands of years old in ancient Egyptian tombs, and it was still good!  Not that your Manuka will last that long in your home! What it shows, is that real honey can last for a very long time.  The USA National Honey Board say that “Honey stories in sealed containers can remain stable for decades and even centuries.”


Why Does Honey Have an Expiration Date?

Honey does not have an “expiration date”. It has a "Best Before/ Use By" date placed on the bottle by the manufacturer to indicate peak quality. This date does not indicate spoilage or food safety concerns.

The best-by date on honey products are required by Food Packaging legislation for retail packed products.  It does not necessarily mean it will spoil or expire on that date. We set our Manuka honey has a shelf life of  three years, but can last even longer with proper storage.  Honey does not get spoiled by storage. However, they got darker, and the flavour, aroma and taste tend can change compared to when packed.  Therefore we set best before date for 3 years from the packing date.

What are normal honey changes over time?

Even thought honey doesn’t have an ‘expiration date’, it can still undergo natural changes. The USA National Honey Board says that over time honey may “darken and lose some of its aroma and flavor or crystallize, depending on changes in temperature.

If your honey has hardened or crystallized, that’s not a sign of expiration, but instead a natural process that raw honey can go through, especially in colder climates. You can easily soften honey with a warm water bath. This won’t change the taste or smell of your honey and certainly doesn’t mean that your honey has expired.  

Can Honey Expire?

Bees collect nectar to bring back to the hive where it is stored as food because it provides energy for bees. The nectar gets broken down into simple sugars stored inside the honeycomb. Honeybees make more honey than the colony needs, so our Beekeepers harvest it pack it into our Manuka range.

Part of the reason for the magical longevity of honey is the amazing-ness that happens inside the Hive. Plus the biological makeup of Manuka honey. Because of the sugar content and low pH of honey, as well as the bees’ honey-making process, organisms that can spoil food won’t survive in honey

While virtually all honey products will have a suggested best-before date, this generally is because it is required for retail packed foods. In fact, most honey products are still safe to consume past this time. 

Generally, most honey products you’ll buy will have a “best-by," "best-before," or “use-by” date. It doesn’t indicate that honey will actually spoil, go bad, or be unsafe to consume when that date passes — so long as it was stored properly and hasn’t been contaminated. 

While our honey won’t simply expire once the date passes, after the three  years, we can not guarantee the potency. These compounds include MGO (Methylglyoxal), DHA, leptosperin, and other markers used by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to ensure authenticity. 

To enjoy the delicious taste and wellbeeing benefits from your Manuka honey, Manuka Doctor suggest eating it before the best-by date on the container. However, we’re sure the jar will be empty long before then! Because the best routine is a daily spoonful of New Zealand Manuka honey that is creamy, rich and delicious.

Proper Storage Tips: How Long is Honey Good For?

Like we mentioned earlier, your honey shouldn’t expire or spoil unless it’s not stored properly or contaminated. How long your honey lasts depends on where your honey jar resides. 

Store honey in its original container in a room temperature, in a cool and dry place away from the sunlight. Make sure the cap is tightly on to minimize exposure to oxygen. If the temperature is too hot where the honey is stored, it can change the color and flavor of the honey. Manuka honey can be especially sensitive to heat and direct sunlight. If exposed for a prolonged period, it could compromise the beneficial nutrients in your superfood.   We also pack our honey in Amber pots to help protect it. Storing honey in the refrigerator is not recommended.

Always use a clean spoon when you scoop honey out of the jar so you don’t add any nasties into your honey pot (no double-dipping!).


Honey with purpose - Supercharge Your Favorite Food or Beverage

The uses of Manuka honey are diverse — 1 Pot, 3 Benefits: Immunity + Digestion + Energy.  Use Manuka Doctor Manuka honey as part of your daily wellbeeing routine.

A spoonful a day your way.

  1. Eat It Straight – energy booster

Grab a spoonful of goodness each day and enhance your daily self-care or morning routine. 

  1. Toast Tuesday – make it a family competition as to the best looking!

An energizing morning spread and on-the-go breakfast.  Creamy and thick – its perfect on toast. Have fun creating all types of picture perfect toast moments. Consider lathering a piece of toast with peanut butter, slices of banana, cacao nips and your favorite Manuka honey.

  1. Sip It in Your Tea – a perfect start or end to the day.
  2. Baking – a better natural sweetner with a lower GI Index that table sugar.