Maple syrup makers have been forced to plunder the world’s only inventory of the cherished sweet treat as global demand spikes in combination with an unusually short harvest season in 2021.
The Quebec Maple Syrup Producers’ Association, sometimes referred to as the “Maple Syrup Opec,” has released around 22 million kilograms of syrup from its strategic reserve to meet a shortage caused by a short and warm spring in 2021. NPR reports.
At the same time as production declined, pandemic-induced demand for the sticky substance rose 36% from 2020 to 2021, according to the association.
Quebec supplies nearly three-quarters of the world’s maple syrup, and production is strictly regulated by the association, the one huge stock to cover fluctuations in annual production. It is the first time in three years that the reserve has been drawn.
Syrup harvest is strongly dependent on the weather, and can only occur in a short window when temperatures are above freezing during the day but below 0 ° C at night.
Syrup Association spokeswoman Hélène Normandin told NPR that the release, which is nearly half of the total reserve, would ensure demand is met.
The association is already planning for the harvest next year and previously announced on its website that it would tap another 7 million trees in 2022.
“What we can know at the moment is maybe the season here in Quebec will start a little earlier in February instead of March and end earlier too, ”Normandin told NPR.
It’s not the first time the supply has hit the headlines. In 2012, thieves ran away with nearly 3,000 tons of the liquid gold, which was worth around $ 18 million at the time, 13 times the price of a corresponding amount of crude oil.
The theft was discovered accidentally when a man taking inventory on top of the pile grabbed a barrel to stabilize only to lose balance and almost fall from the pile because the empty barrel was 300kg lighter, than he expected.