Local people are paying twice as much for some Comvita products as consumers on the other side of the world - even though they are made here.

Comvita's website is advertising a half-kilo jar of its UMF 10+ manuka honey for more than $120, when the same product is available in England for the equivalent of $57.

And the Bay of Plenty company is not alone, with other New Zealand websites charging up to $125.

Comvita says several factors are responsible for the price differences, including overseas retailers selling old stock they purchased when manuka honey was cheaper.


The Bay of Plenty Times surveyed a dozen local and international stores after a man involved with honey trade pointed out international price discrepancies for Comvita's products in Japan.

A Japanese Comvita website directed traffic to the retailer Rakuten, which was selling at least some products 30 per cent cheaper than Comvita's website in New Zealand.

Comvita chief executive Scott Coulter said there were 20,000 resellers of his company's products, and some overseas retailers were selling old stock that was bought before a honey shortage forced up prices this year.

Values were also affected by the strength of local competition and the "loss leader" slashing of prices to lure customers on to shopping websites.

"I would describe this as an unusual situation," Mr Coulter said.

A researcher for the non-profit lobby group Consumer, Jessica Wilson, said manuka honey prices may have been pushed up by marketing of its antibacterial properties and our smaller market.

She said international comparisons had found that in general product prices were higher here than in many other countries.

For example, a 2014 report for the Productivity Commission found that New Zealand had the ninth-highest prices for tradable commodities of 44 OECD countries.

The most expensive New Zealand retailer of Comvita 10+ Manuka Honey surveyed was Net Pharmacy of Parnell, Auckland.

A spokeswoman for the company directed enquiries back to Comvita, saying "we'd also like to know" why foreign retailers were able to sell the honey cheaper.

One exception to the expensive New Zealand prices was Takapuna-based Ibuy Pharmacy, which was charging just $50 for a half-kilo jar.

Ibuy pharmacist Shyong Foo said the company had excess stock of the product.

Two of the New Zealand retailers surveyed did not respond to questions.

Comvita 10+ Manuka Honey, 500g

(NZ) Comvita: $121.64
(NZ) NetPharmacy: $124.90
(NZ) Pharmacy Direct: $123.50
(NZ) Nutricare $82.40
(NZ) Ibuy Pharmacy $50

(Japan) Comvita/Rakuten $89
(Japan) Amazon: $95
(USA) Amazon: $65
(Germany) Amazon: $62
(UK) Amazon $56
(China) Taobao: $57

- Converted to NZD at Feb 27 exchange rates