The maple syrup market has always held deep interest all over the world. Maple syrup is typically considered a luxury good meaning it is far less likely that the market faces a recession through minor changes. Soon however, that might be changing because of one major reason, consolidation.
Recent developments in both the US and Canada create a possible precedent to what the maple syrup industry could soon face. This is happening in two major ways. The first is happening on the producers’ side of things. The trend in Canada is such that larger producers are buying up smaller producers en masse in order to increase the production capacity that they have. That in itself is not necessarily alarming, large companies have always purchased smaller operations in order to grow and more production means more maple syrup for everyone and stable quality control.
The problem lies in the consolidation of power, that only a privileged few will be in charge of production and thus will have more of a say in the price. That means that instead of the prices going down, we could see the prices going up. This creates a scenario where when oversight fails, monopolies can occur.
The same thing can be witnessed in the packaging side of things in the maple syrup industry. More and more packagers are being acquired to form an umbrella corporation of packagers. It again leads to a more streamlined process of packaging and shipment but therein lies the problem. The control that these packagers have will increase, with the more companies they manage to acquire.
Despite this many producers and packagers this year remain cautiously optimistic about the market. They continue to see growth in the industry year over year and understand that certain factors are outside of their control. The main factor in some cases being the exchange rates of foreign currencies. Since Canada and the US are the main producers of maple syrup, the amount that they are able to ship will be affected, in one way or the other, by the different exchange rates in the world. An increase in the rate would mean more of a profit but it could just as easily mean a fall in the demand of the luxury good. A decrease in the rate would mean lower profits but higher demand. This factor remains a constant threat to an industry that often relies on exporting the good to foreign countries.
All of these things have created unrest in the maple syrup market for 2019, but for an industry that has been around for over 100 years and is still growing, there is reason to be optimistic for the future.