There was a major increase in the demand for maple syrup, a pancake staple, when Covid-19 swept the globe. The demand increased by about 37%, according to the Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (QMSP) group. Unfortunately, as demand climbed, Quebec’s yearly harvest – which accounts for 72% of the world’s supply – decreased, resulting in the current shortfall.
According to the QMSP, maple syrup production in 2021 will be down by around 42 million pounds from last year’s record high of 175 million pounds.
“Last spring, the reserve had a value of £100 million. We expect that less than half of the stockpile will still be there by the time the following season begins in early 2022,” QMSP spokesperson Helene Normandin told Fortune.
Cause of poor harvest
What were the factors contributing to this year’s poor harvest? The spring of 2021 was warmer than usual. The temperature must be just above freezing during the day and below freezing at night for the trees to produce syrup.
“An early thaw in 2021 caused sap to flow at the same time across the province, and exceptionally high temperatures in April brought the harvest season to a standstill.”
“Maple growers are at the mercy of mother nature.”
While the QMSP rated this year’s supply as “average”, the decline from the previous year has made meeting the spike in demand much more challenging.
“While this has resulted in a reduction in inventory, there is no cause for concern: our organization has the instruments in place to satisfy demand,” said Serge Beaulieu, president of the QMSP.
To compensate for an increase in global demand, the QMSP is installing about 7 million new tree taps, or spouts to retrieve sap, over the next three years.