A Maori consultancy firm is thinking of ways to protect manuka honey products after research has found properties of the honey can be chemically faked.
Genuine New Zealand manuka honey contains naturally occurring bioactive compounds and can fetch up to $250 a kilogram overseas.
Research by a consortium of universities and Crown Research Institutes, which has yet to be published, discovered those properties can be synthesised by adding chemicals to normal honey, such as regular clover or low grade manuka honey.
Poutama Trust, led Richard Jones, started the brand Indigenous New Zealand Cuisine, which also includes manuka products.
He says the research highlights a need to protect the highly-prized export.
Mr Jones suggests a Fairtrade mark or perhaps a Maori trademark on the honey which shows it has undergone strict scientific tests to prove it's manuka honey.