Canadian maple syrup producers use the country’s emergency reserve of sticky sweet stuff because it looks to meet the demand amid a global shortage.
The Quebec maple syrup producers – a group known as the world’s maple syrup cartel and sometimes compared to the organization of the petroleum exporting countries grip on oil – announced this week that they are pulling some 50 million pounds of syrup from its Strategic reserve.
This is the most that the group has released from the reserve in one season since 2008 and consists of about half of the entire camp.
Helene Normandin, spokeswoman for the group, which sets bulk syrup prices, caps production and controls the stocks, said producers were not able to make enough syrup this year because of a warmer and shorter spring than expected.
“Therefore the reserve is made, to never miss maple syrup. And we will not miss maple syrup!” She told NPR.
The French-speaking Canadian province produces more than 70 percent of the world’s maple syrup supply.
Normandin told Bloomberg that the demand for maple syrup increased during the pandemic as people cook more at home.
Export sales reportedly rose to 113.5 million pounds between January and September – a watching 21 percent from a year earlier.
At the same time, the consortium of maple syrup producers in Quebec saw production fall by 24 percent due to the uncharacteristically short and warm spring season.
The strange weather hit maple syrup production particularly hard because tree sap is only able to be harvested during a short window when the temperature alternates between freezing and thawing.
This is not the first time the strategic reserve of Quebec maple syrup producers have made headlines.
In 2012, thieves removed with more than 3,000 tons of maple syrup – worth some $ 19 million Canadian dollars – from the stock. The syrup is quietly removed from the reserve over the course of months.