Maple Mania Takes Hold as U.S. Syrup Production Almost Triples
(Bloomberg) -- Could maple flavor be the next pumpkin spice?
The tree-sap syrup is showing up in everything from cereal ingredients to fitness water and beer as consumer demand increases for natural sweeteners perceived to be more healthy than sugar. Part of the ubiquity is also stemming from a production explosion -- U.S. output has almost tripled over the 15 years through 2017, according to the latest census data from the Department of Agriculture released in April.
There are no signs of a slow down. Sales are growing steadily at a rate of about 5 percent to 7 percent a year, and that should continue in the medium term over the next several years, according to Arnold Coombs, director of sales and marketing at Coombs Family Farms, a major U.S. supplier.
Weather problems in 2018 resulted in lower U.S. output, though taps are still increasing. In 2019, production is shaping up to be an “average” year, according to Coombs. Temperature swings attributed to climate change may hamper production in the Northeast going forward. Meanwhile in Canada’s Quebec, the world’s biggest producing region, weather woes contributed to a smaller harvest last season.
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