Why settle for just putting maple-syrup on pancakes and french toast? After a record harvest of maple syrup this year, new recipes are emerging featuring this sweet ingredient. Recently, we talked about another great sweetener: honey. This week, we looked at all the ways maple syrup is being used, from breakfast items to seafood and just about everything in between.
How Much Do We Love Maple?
A whole lot! In fact, we "tapped" into the Label Insight product data engine and found nearly 1,500 products in grocery stores containing maple flavor. 713 of them included pure maple syrup as an ingredient and only 176 of those were just plain syrups. That left 537 other products containing pure maple syrup. These products ranged from cereals and breakfast foods, like maple flavored sausage and bacon, to deli meats and baked beans. In fact, there was a maple syrup-containing product in almost every category - even cheese! Who knew maple syrup was such a popular ingredient? And it's popularity is only increasing.
A Sweet Year for Maple Syrup
While Canada supplies about 70% of the world’s maple syrup, Vermont is the United States' largest producer of the syrup. According to the USDA, the state of Vermont yielded 1.9 million gallons in 2016. The previous record was about 1.4 million gallons. New York, Maine, Wisconsin and New Hampshire were also leading producers of maple syrup producing a total of 4.2 million gallons. This year we saw the largest amount of maple syrup produced in one year since records began 100 years ago in 1916. Canada also had a high producing year with about 13.5 million gallons of syrup generated.
“We’ve never seen a harvest of this magnitude,” said Serge Beaulieu, president of the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers.
A Sudden Spike in Syrup Seekers
In addition to recent ideal weather for producing maple syrup, more people have gotten into the business in recent years. In fact, 15 years ago there were only about a million taps in trees. Now, there are nearly 5 million taps! As a result, maple syrup is becoming increasingly popular among consumers and chefs. Because of its wide variety of uses, some makers of maple syrup are even making syrups designed specifically for unique uses. For example, according to a post on Market Watch, maple syrup company Sugar Bob’s Finest Kind smoked maple syrup infuses their maple syrup with hardwood smoke and recommends the syrup for use with dishes such as shrimp cocktail and ribs versus your typical breakfast dishes. Restaurants, such as Omni Hotels & Resorts, are also starting to feature specials such as maple-peach margaritas or cardamom-maple salmon salad. Between maple syrup’s big flavor, record breaking harvest, and the increased number of producers of maple syrup, it’s quickly becoming a go-to ingredient for many food product manufacturers. We’re starting to see maple syrup being used to flavor cheeses, chocolate, seafood and more.
Curious about maple syrup's popularity, we looked back in the Label Insight product data engine and found that of the 713 products containing raw maple syrup, 128 of them included an Organic Certified claim and 66 included an All Natural claim. It's not entirely clear if claims such as these drive consumer sales but when you layer data like this with point-of-sale data, the picture becomes a lot bigger. By having all this information, brands and retailers can more accurately discover exactly what factors are driving performance.
Want to see how this works? We’d love to show you! Request a consultation call and we’ll take you behind the scenes of the Label Insight product data engine.