There are different types of honey, based on the region or plants that support the bee colonies. We look into whether acacia honey is better than manuka honey for vegans? We also examine honey as a food source for vegans and whether it’s a good choice. [SPOILER ALERT: it’s controversial to be sure]
Acacia Honey vs Manuka Honey
Of the many types of money, the debate over Acacia honey vs Manuka honey crops up a lot.
So, let’s provide a few basic facts about these two to see how they stack up and decide which if either wins the acacia honey vs manuka honey vegan battle.
Acacia Honey 101
For American consumers, Acacia honey is more easily sourced in-country because it originates from the black locust that grows in the States.
The honey might come with a marketing blurb that it’s “American acacia honey,” but it’s the same thing whether sold on home soil, in Europe, and on other continents.
Acacia honey can be spotted on the retail shelf sat next to other jars of honey because it is considerably lighter in color, compared to some deeply golden-hued versions. When unsealed, its aroma is unique with a sweetness and a clear floral smell too.
Manuka Honey 101
Only New Zealand produces Manuka honey because its Manuka flower delivers what the bees collect. Therefore, it can be quite pricey because it’s transported globally to reach you.
Because the pollen is entirely different, the honey that the local bees produce has a completely separate composition, flavor, and hue.
With Manuka honey, it is an amber shade that’s similar to the color of caramel.
As the honey ages, the color also alters to become darker still. Also, with age, the flavor becomes stronger.
This is either a good or bad thing depending on how consistent you prefer the flavor of your honey.
Acacia honey vs manuka honey [What The Consumers Say]
The flavor is different from other kinds of honey, including the less pricey, commercial beekeeping-produced honey products.
For buyers who dislike how money can solidify and crystalize fast however it’s stored, Acacia honey is a popular one. It has unique properties that help to keep it in a more liquid form for longer, making it far easier to pour, or spread over a slice of toast or on an English muffin (if that’s your preference).
This is similar to preferring margarine over butter for the same reason of convenience.
With cooks who use honey infrequently, solid honey is a persistent problem. Therefore, any honey product that avoids this for longer durations is a preferred option.
The increased levels of fructose per spoonful of Acacia honey combined with less sucrose is a popular choice for people caring about their health. It’s also seen as a healthy option for those who are suffering from diabetes.
It is usually more available in the market and less expensive than Manuka honey.
The Manuka flower only grows in New Zealand and is the sole indirect source of Manuka honey. Therefore, it is usually produced there and flown or shipped around the world for North American consumers to enjoy. Depending on global demand, it is sometimes harder to find a jar of it.
The golden appearance stands out from other jars of honey. The texture takes on a caramel appearance, which is familiar to American consumers making this product easier to stop at the supermarket and health food stores.
Its taste differentiates it too. It is stronger, with some people feeling it has some medicinal qualities to it. Therefore, it is something that you either love, hate, or are a little indifferent to (opinions on Acacia honey are far less divided).
Manuka honey is a bit upmarket as honey food products go. The stock availability fluctuates depending on the time of year and global supply trends. It is also one of the pricier honey you can buy.
Health Benefits of Acacia Honey vs Manuka Honey
For vegans who like to enjoy honey, what are the health benefits of Acacia Honey over Manuka Honey?
There are many natural health and healing benefits from the consumption of these kinds of honey. Therefore, anyone who prefers home remedies or natural remedies should pay attention to what follows next:
There are numerous antioxidants present in Acacia honey. These originate from flavonoids; it also has beta carotene which helps to keep the brain healthy.
The antibacterial properties are strong too. The honey releases hydrogen peroxide which wipes out bacteria, including several strains that antibiotics are yet to make a dent in.
Good for the skin, it has also been found to raise the metabolism a tad too.
There are many antioxidants in Manuka Honey. It also has antimicrobial properties, so it is a natural way to fight some viruses, fungi, and bacteria. However, while a natural remedy of sorts, don’t expect miracles here!
The Methylglyoxal present directly fights infections, with antibacterial effects that beat out Acacia honey.
It is also anti-inflammatory, so consuming some Manuka honey helps to reduce inflammation and likely the associated pain as well.
Commercial vs. Small Scale Beekeeping: What Vegans Should Know
Honey is a controversial food source in the vegan community.
Check out this article for a list of non-vegan foods to avoid.
The syrupy goodness is produced by bees (an animal) collecting nectar from hundreds of plants, storing the nectar in a separate stomach where enzymes enrich it. Once the bee has collected enough nectar, it returns to its hive where it regurgitates the modified result into a honeycomb storage system.
Bees rely on completed honeycombs to get through the winter. This is their food storage system and way of surviving.
What is Commercial Beekeeping?
The process of commercial beekeeping involves systematic production of honey and extraction of honey, often replacing it with alternative food sources for the bees and selling the produce.
The sugar substitute that replaces the bees’ honey is often lower in nutrients.
Also, professional beekeepers will acknowledge that removing the honeycomb to access its honey storage will always kill some bees that get caught up. There is no way to avoid that completely. Also, the health of the bees isn’t high on the list of priorities; raising the production level is because that’s where the profit originates.
Also, mass production by using farmed bees reduces the available pollen in the local area for non-farmed bees. Many bee populations have been reduced in recent years as a result.
Small-scale Private Beekeeping
While some of the negatives to beekeeping, such as the loss of some bees during the harvest process, are unavoidable, others can be reduced or eliminated.
Small-scale, non-commercial beekeepers focused on health, happy bees as well as producing and selling honey represent the better side of the industry.
Their ethos to been keeping and the production of honey is more ethical and they definitely deserve our support over the commercial mass-producers.
Is Honey a Vegan Product?
When you bottom-line it, no. Honey will never be a vegan product howsoever it is produced.
Why is honey not vegan?
Simply pub, because bees are animals and they’re the primary producer of honey.
As we mentioned in the previous section, some are killed while extracting the produced honey. Also, replacing the honey with low-quality alternatives impacts the health of the remaining bees in the hive.
Furthermore, when a disease outbreak occurs, many beekeepers will destroy the infected hive(s) to save the remaining hives. This is akin to slaughtering an entire herd when one cow has mad cow disease.
With that said, the level of animal suffering to the bees compared to battery hens or other forced animal farming methods (and animal slaughter to produce the meat) is seen as vastly better. Whether that’s enough for a vegan – for you – remains to be seen.
Amongst vegans, honey consumption is a controversial subject. Many consume honey but know it leaves themselves open to criticism for doing so. At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice, rather than a clear-cut one.
What are your thoughts? Acacia honey vs manuka honey, or no honey at all? Let us know in the comments below.