Photographer: Joanna Kosinsk
markets

Maple Syrup Cartel Has a Plan to Cover Shortfall

  • Reserves will likely be tapped after output hurt by cold
  • Quebec group sets prices for almost three-quarters of supplies

The OPEC of maple syrup has a plan to cover this year’s shortfall of the sticky breakfast staple.

Output of maple syrup in Quebec, the largest global producer, is poised to fall as much as 27 percent to 110 million pounds (49,900 metric tons), according to the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers -- a government-sanctioned sales agency that sets bulk prices for about 72 percent of the world’s syrup and limits farmer output through quotas. Production was hurt after below-average daytime temperatures resulted in less sap flowing from the province’s trees.

The good news is nobody’s waffles will go bare, thanks to the agency’s strategic reserve, which warehouses more than 96 million pounds of extra syrup in case of such a crisis.

“With the strategic reserve of syrup, nobody will miss maple syrup from Quebec,” spokeswoman Helene Normandin said in an emailed statement. “This year the cold weather caused this situation.”

The reserve, which was the scene of a notorious 2012 heist, hasn’t been tapped to offset production shortfalls since 2015. Quebec has recently moved to increase quotas and boost output of maple syrup as U.S. producers are increasing their share of the world market.

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