There are only a few days of kindergarten that I remember now as an adult, but one of them was when we tapped our maple tree out in the school yard, and another was when we made our classroom into a sugar shack for the day, boiled down the sap into maple syrup and had an amazing pancake breakfast.
Lately, there has been quite a ruckus in the maple syrup community of Vermont due to syrup producers labeling their products as “All Natural”. This marketing ploy leads us to believe that we are buying a pure product, when in fact we are not. The syrup producers who are using now very little if any maple in their syrups are able to price them significantly lower than if it were pure maple syrup. Farmers just can’t compete, especially when it takes 10 gallons of sap to make one quart of pure syrup.
Labeling is a big problem in the food industry. Wording such as “All Natural” and “Made With Real Fruit” are allowed on packaging even if the product is chock full of additives and preservatives because the FDA has not strictly defined these terms. We as consumers are being bamboozled and farmers are struggling to stay in business as the industry becomes more corrupt in their competition.
Next time you are shopping, try to ignore the claims on the front of the package and check out the list of ingredients on the back. If there are a bunch of words that you can barely pronounce and it looks more like a chemistry experiment, maybe it’s not really food. Oh, and if you’ve never had real maple syrup, treat yourself…it is soooo good!