When the Herald on Sunday went undercover yesterday to Auckland stores selling manuka honey, shop assistants were effusive with claims of health benefits.

Most praised the UMF-rated Comvita range as the benchmark.

However, at Kiwi Plaza Souvenir Hypermart in Wakefield St, the HNZ Manuka Blend Honey Active 5+ was described as having only "some" active properties that would assist health and wellbeing - despite it having no UMF rating.

The assistant did not try to disguise that some manuka honey products were blended and offered a special discount on an expensive Comvita product.

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At Drapac Natural Health Care in Newmarket, the honey, stacked high on the rear shelving unit, came with an array of codes and numbers.

The assistant, pointing to the different brands, explained the codes were from different laboratories where the honey was tested.

She said ratings matched each other across the brand range and would give similar health benefits, no matter which product was purchased.