New study reveals Scottish heather honey is a world-leading superfood set to 'rival manuka'

A Scottish heather honey is set to take on its global rivals after being revealed as a world-leading superfood in a recent scientific study.

Published 28th Apr 2020
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

The Scottish Bee Company’s heather honey contains up to 10 times more of the essential micronutrient, manganese, compared to 200 of its global rivals.

This Scottish heather honey is also amongst the world’s top manganese containing food products.

The study

Researchers from Fera Science Limited teamed up with the Edinburgh-based Scottish Bee Company earlier this month to investigate the nutritional content of its honey, which is produced in the Lothians, Dumfriesshire, Stirlingshire, Fife and Aberdeenshire.

The results of the study suggest that The Scottish Bee Company’s heather honey contains significantly higher levels of the essential micronutrient, manganese.

As well as the high antioxidant qualities, manganese plays a role in helping to make and activate enzymes in the body involved in protecting tissues from damage and in the metabolism of nutrients. It also helps maintain healthy bones.

This breakthrough is the first of its kind in the world and firmly cements this honey’s position as a rival to manuka honey, indicating that the Scottish Bee Company’s heather honey has a range of positive health benefits.

Dr Adrian Charlton from Fera Science Limited, said: “We didn’t know that honey of any type could be a significant source of dietary manganese before this piece of work was completed.”

Fera’s food and drink analytical testing services are supported by scientific expertise, detailed knowledge of both current and emerging regulations, and internationally recognised quality standards.

Heather honey

The Scottish Bee Company was founded by Iain and Suzie Millar in 2017 out of a love for the environment and the honey bee.

Iain and Suzie were saddened by the continually documented decline in the bee population, so they decided that they would do something to help.

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Along with dwindling bee numbers, they were also astonished to find how much honey consumed in the UK is imported from around the world, which made them think that there would be a demand for more home grown, bee-friendly honey.

Suzie Millar, co-founder of The Scottish Bee Company, said: “It’s been remarkable to see the results of the scientific analysis show that our Scottish heather honey has superfood quality, more so than many other honeys around the world.

“What’s even more exciting is that it doesn’t need to be imported from other countries. We have these wonderful, natural products right here in Scotland.”

In 2019, The Scottish Bee Company partnered with the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow to get a better understanding about the content of its products.

The research suggests that its heather honey also has a high antibiofilm and antimicrobial activity. This comes at a time of renewed focus on health and the need for locally sourced, natural healthy products are in demand.

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The Scottish Bee Company is known for promoting locally grown produce and for its environmentally friendly and socially responsible products. Its packaging is fully recyclable and the company donates a percentage of its profits to its sister charity, Re-Pollinate.

The Scottish Bee Company’s heather honey has won a Great Taste award and prides itself on having no pesticides or GMO’s in its products.

To buy heather honey, please visit The Scottish Bee Company's online shop, which is now open and is able to ship throughout Scotland, the rest of the UK, northern Europe and the USA within seven days.

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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