LONGUEUIL, QC, - The substantial and ongoing growth of maple syrup sales and exports, combined with an average yield in the 2021 production season, has raised concerns in several media outlets about a potential shortage of supply. Québec Maple Syrup Producers (QMSP) wishes to reassure the public that demand, both domestic and international, will be met through the Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve.
QMSP established its strategic maple syrup reserve in 2000 to respond to this exact situation. When production exceeds demand (as was the case in the two previous years), the surplus maple syrup is warehoused. Conversely, when the harvest is weaker than current demand (such as this year), the syrup stockpile is offered for sale to buyers.
The Global Reserve is therefore serving its important purpose, ensuring a constant supply to the domestic and international markets, regardless the success of any single year's harvest. Furthermore, it stabilizes the product's price, eliminating variations caused by stock-outs or surpluses.
This is How Québec Maple Producers Conduct Business
QMSP's maple syrup reserve is unique in the world. Located in Laurierville in the Centre-du-Québec region, it covers 267,000 square feet – the equivalent of five football fields. At the start of the 2021 season, the reserve held some 100 million pounds of maple syrup in sealed, sterilized 45-gallon barrels. It is estimated that, by the time the next season begins in early 2022, about less than half of the stockpile, will still be there.
This stand-by supply of syrup is provided by Québec maple producers, who account for approximately 72% of world production. In 2021, the world produced 182 million pounds of maple syrup. 133 million pounds came from Québec forests.
Why is QMSP Drawing on the Reserve?
Demand for maple syrup has been booming in 2020 and 2021. Businesses (i.e., processors and bottlers), noting the average-only harvest in Canada and the United States, responded by increasing their orders, necessitating QMSP's withdrawals from the Reserve.
"The maple industry is healthy. The pandemic generated a certain desire for local products, and consumers are responding to promotional efforts as well," explains QMSP president Serge Beaulieu. "While this has resulted in a decrease in the stockpile, there is no cause for concern: our organization has the tools in place to meet demand. The Strategic Reserve has the capacity to respond to the industry's needs for conventional maple syrup in the short and medium terms. Yes, stocks are lower now but QMSP can issue more taps so producers can pick up the slack. And that's what we've done: QMSP is approving 7 million new taps that will enter production over the next 3 years, bringing Québec's total to 57 million."
Sales at All-Time Highs
Through their sales agency, Québec maple producers sold 147 million pounds of syrup to processors in 2020. That's a record. So is the 135 million pounds of that number that were exported, due in large part to imaginative and effective promotional efforts and strategies. It accounts for nearly $1 Billion of Canada's gross domestic product and a significant economic driver for outlying regions.
2019 and 2020 were record production years. In 2021, an early thaw caused the sap to start flowing at the same time across the province and unusually warm temperatures in April brought the harvest season to an abrupt halt. Maple producers are at the mercy of Mother Nature. But they can depend on the Strategic Reserve to step in and mitigate the effects of a less generous crop.Click here to see more...