Tamara Mannelly

Guess What? Your Maple Syrup is Fake! - www.ohlardy.com

This post has been rattling around in my head for almost a year!

Last summer, my husband, daughter and I were staying at a mountain cabin we share with other family members.  We took some time to clean out the refrigerator and pantry….Nothing was rotten, just tossing things that had expired, dressings that were mostly empty, etc.  You know those mystery mustards, oils, random canned items.  I even found boxes of lime jello that expired in 2004 (I would have tossed those expired or not!)

In the back of the refrigerator, I found 2 mostly empty bottles of Log Cabin syrup.  It was expired, but I was going to toss it anyway.  It has been years since I have bought that stuff, so I took a moment to read the ingredient label.  YIKES!

It got me to thinking how many people aren’t really aware that most of these syrups that are sold at the store are NOT maple syrup at all!  It is shocking to me because nowhere on the label do these products say ‘maple syrup’ but most consumers do not know the difference. 

They aren’t real maple syrup folks!  They are a combo of high fructose corn syrup, fake colors and artificial flavors…essentially poison, in my opinion!

We all know, somewhere in the back of our brains, that maple syrup comes from maple sap from maple trees.  In my mind, I have images of some frosty morning, gathering the sap and making the syrup.  I have never actually done that, but I read Little House in the Big Woods so many times as a child…so I feel like I have!  πŸ™‚

According to World’s Healthiest Foods, “the sap is clear and almost tasteless and very low in sugar content when it is first tapped. It is then boiled to evaporate the water producing syrup with the characteristic flavor and color of maple syrup and sugar content of 60%.”

Unfortunately, Big Food has taken over and even a simple, delicious treat as maple syrup has been corrupted and most of the syrups today are totally fake!

This is yet another reason why reading ingredient labels is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do on your real food journey!

If you start to look closely at your grocery aisle, you will see, many of the brands are called ‘syrup’ or ‘table syrup’ or ‘maple-flavored syrup’.  This is because only 100% pure maple syrup can be called ‘maple syrup’.

There are different grades of maple syrup Grade A and Grade B.  Many people say that Grade B is more nutrient rich, and this seems to be the case.  It also, however, has a more pronounced flavor.  

I have never really worried over Grade A or Grade B.  In fact, this year the labeling is changing and there will just be Grade A, with 4 varying colors.  Again, sometimes too much information overwhelms me….I just like to be sure I have real maple syrup!

In order to investigate these ‘maple flavored syrups’, I decided to take a little field trip to my local grocery store to see how many maple syrups there really are in the aisle and to do a little detective work on the ingredients!

First of all, I am amazed at how many ‘syrups’ there are in your average grocery store!  It is mind-boggling to choose.  I counted over 42 different types of syrup.  Approximately 30 of those were not true maple syrup and 12 of them were real.

Yes, the fake stuff is cheaper than the real stuff.  Of course it is….it is made with government subsidized, genetically modified corn products and all sorts of cheap chemicals.  This is why they make it in the first place.  Cheaper to make and the companies can make more profit!

In this post I will show you how to determine the fake from the real and give you resources at the end on where to buy real maple syrup!

Here are the deets on the pretend maple syrup:

The above are two popular brands of syrup.  Look at those ingredients!

 High fructose corn syrup and corn syrup most likely made from GMO corn.

Caramel coloring which absolutely nothing to do with the caramel you might make in your kitchen and has been linked to cancer.

Sodium benzoate which is a preservative which has been linked to adhd, asthma and more.

YUCK!

Then there was this one.  Look it says “No high fructose corn syrup” in big letters so this one has to be better right?!

Ha!  Not so fast.  Take a look at these ingredients!

There no hcfs but there are:

regular corn syrup, the caramel coloring, toxic preservatives and phosphoric acid which has been kidney trouble and bone fractures.

Yum!  I really do not want my child eating this garbage on her pancakes.  Ugh.

Then there is this one that really made me mad!  Look, it is in this nice, opaque bottle, which is what many real maple syrups are sold in.  And, phew, no hcfs again!  What a relief!  (said sarcastically)

Here are the ingredients.  While not as bad as the previous ones, this still IS NOT true maple syrup!

Now here is one where I really laughed out loud…Sugar Free Syrup.  Real Maple Syrup IS sugar.  If you are that concerned about sugar, don’t use syrup.

In addition to all the garbage ingredients mentioned above, this one also contains 3 different artificial sweeteners.  This is about as fake a food product as you can get!

I do have funny side story….When researching for this post, I was standing in the syrup aisle, taking my photos, when a husband and wife started bickering over which syrup to buy.  She wanted the real stuff, he wanted the cheap stuff.  I kept quiet, not wanting to butt in.  After awhile, however, I said ‘That stuff isn’t even maple syrup.  It is just HCFS, caramel coloring and maple flavor…essentially poison.’  The man glared at me.  The woman said ‘told you so.’  They bought the real stuff.  I also shared some ideas on how to source the syrup to get a better deal (see end of this post!).  A friend of mine told me I was changing the world, one grocer customer at a time!  HAHAHA!

Anyhoo…back to the post!  What also infuriates me is the number of ‘pancake houses’ that use the fake stuff!  It happens all the time!

Look, here is a ‘to go’ syrup we got from a well-known, not cheap, breakfast spot…UGH!

Trust me, next time you are at your favorite breakfast spot, ask…hey is this real maple syrup?  I guarantee, the waiter will be confused and if you ask for the container, it will be nothing but the fake stuff.

This will be a golden opportunity for you to request that the restaurant start using the real deal.  I have already made this my mission at my favorite breakfast spot where I live in the Chicago area!

Okay, I hear you…you are saying, ‘hey, we only use maple syrup on rare occasions, why does this matter!  Why should we spend more money on the real deal?’

Well folks, I like to always have the ‘real deal’ in my home and never want to, knowingly, feed my family what I believe is poison for the body, no matter how rarely I use the product.  I try my best to choose nourishing ingredients as often as possible.  We get enough of that outside the house!  Let’s have what is in our house be the real stuff!

You vote with your dollar EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Don’t let maple syrup trip you up!

Real maple syrup is more expensive, but I will tell you, that you will use so much less of it because real maple syrup tastes more maple-y!  It is a flavor that they can not recreate in a lab.  You don’t need to douse your pancakes and waffles in real syrup, because a little goes a long way.

Real maple syrup also has NUTRIENTS, yes that is right actual nutrients that can help your body!  Now, it is still sugar and should be used sparingly, but the little you do use will add to the nutrient density of your diet!

According to World’s Healthiest Foods, real maple syrup is an excellent source of manganese and a good source of zinc.  And Nourishing Traditions says that it also has plenty of trace minerals to boot.

Real maple syrup is great for baking!  I use it all the time in lieu of refined sugar and it adds a depth of flavor that I really enjoy!  I love using it in Oh Lardy’s Frozen Granola Bars.

Now your grocery store will have real maple syrup options.  I counted over 10 at the store I visited.  Look for the words “Pure Maple Syrup” or “100% pure maple syrup”.  And when you look at the ingredients, what do you think you will see?  1 ingredient…drum roll please…maple syrup!

There are many other ways to source maple syrup.  It is usually more cost effective, in my opinion, to shop online.  I like to buy a gallon size jar and I transfer some to a smaller jar for my refrigerator and store the larger jar in my basement.

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Guess What? Your Maple Syrup is Fake! - www.ohlardy.com

 

What kind of maple syrup do you use?  Do you ever buy the fake stuff?  Would love to know your thoughts!

 

This post shared at these awesome blog carnivals:  Real Food WednesdayFrugal Days Sustainable Ways, Whole Foods WednesdayParty Wave WednesdayWildcrafting WednesdaySimple Lives ThursdayThank Your Body ThursdayTasty Traditions, Fresh Bites Friday, Link Love, Simple Meals Friday, Fight Back Friday, Natural Living FridayOld Fashioned FridaySmall Footprint Friday, Weekend Whatever, Sunday SchoolMake Your Own Monday, More the Merrier Monday, Homestead Barn Hop, Thank Goodness It’s MondayFat Tuesday, Scratch Cooking Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Family Table Tuesdays, Tuned In Tuesdays

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130 Comments on “Guess what? You’re Buying Fake Maple Syrup!”

  1. Betsy

    What’s your thought about Trader Joe’s Pure Maple Syrup? I find it delicious, cheaper than other brands, and they have grade B.

      1. Tamara Mannelly

        That sounds great! Next time I get down to TJ’s I need to stock up! Ours is still a bit away so I do not frequent TJ’s. BUT we are getting one in our town (yay!) soon!

      2. nadianeva

        I love Trader Joe’s as well but last week I found a much better price at Costco. Check it out!

    1. J Richmond

      Agreed with Betsy and it’s also in a glass reusable bottle. I will not pay top dollar for real syrup in a darned plastic bottle.
      The more people that want real, the higher priced it will get. The A and B grade has to do with the time of year the syrup was tapped not how good it is. Let people think A is better so the B stays lower priced.
      The folks that don’t know the difference, fake or real, and really it’s hard to believe they wouldn’t, that is sad, are likely the same masses that eat restauraunt food on a regular basis. For them I don’t think it’s going to make a dent in their long term health issues they have or will have later in life.
      The FDA approves though…..this goes much deeper than just the bottom of a plastic bottle of Aunt Jemima.

  2. Nicole

    You mentioned you use your maple syrup for baking instead of refined sugar. Are there any specific guidelines to follow as far as amount and specific baked goods for which this would be a good swap? I am trying to go more natural and am learning as I go. Thank you! I use Aldi’s brand of pure maple syrup, but I have not done any price comparisons with other stores.

  3. Renee

    After learning from The Healthy Home Economist a little bit regarding sugars, and then watching from her Youtube channel how to make homemade ice cream using grade b maple syrup, I won’t go back to the junk! I know folks may think me being pretentious or silly, but the evidence is in health & taste! I do enjoy the taste of grade b, and have gotten it @ our local food co-op.

  4. Lauren

    Grade B maple syrup is the most used sweetener in our house. We use it to flavor plain yogurt, sweeten homemade ice cream, custards, and puddings–my husband uses it to sweeten his coffee. Trader Joes brand is a good deal.

  5. Hannah J

    I like to buy local maple syrup. I live in OH, but some of my family is in PA, and I like to stock up at our maple festivals. So delicious. I love maple syrup on homemade french toast!

    Check out my blog at:
    dreamingofperfect.weebly.com

  6. Elaina

    Reading this very informative post made me realise how many people actually believe the fake maple syrup is real!
    Growing up in Australia, we only ever bought pure Canadian maple syrup (my dad would never have settled for less!) even though it was over $10 for a small amount. I remember going to a friend’s place in high school and they had ‘syrup’ and I was completely horrified! It tasted so fake! And on my first trip to the US I was very unimpressed with WaHo, IHOP, etc. There was nothing genuine about those syrups.
    As you can see, I’m a little bit of a maple syrup snob, I’m afraid! But reading this convinced me that I have nothing to be ashamed of πŸ™‚ Thanks for putting this out there!

      1. Laura

        I glad to hear that real Canadian maple syrup is available in Australia albeit quite expensive. My best friend, her husband and my godson currently live in Australia and I was wondering what to send them for Christmas this year from Montreal that can go by mail. Maple syrup it is! Personally, I love maple syrup snobs! Carry on!

        My daughter and I stayed with friends in Connecticut recently. One morning our host made lovely fluffy pancakes for breakfast, but I was chagrined to see that there was only FAKE maple syrup on the table. Growing up in Canada, it seems no one here would ever think to put FAKE (shudder!) maple syrup on their pancakes and even worse to offer it to others. Even worse yet, the teenage daughter of our host declared, “Oh I love Aunt Jemima! I much prefer it over real maple syrup.” My Canadian-self was convulsing on the inside while outwardly I was smiling and thanking my generous host for a lovely breakfast. I am convinced that it isn’t the daughter’s fault for preferring fake maple syrup. If you feed your children fake-crappy HFCS syrup their whole lives, then naturally they will prefer this crud! Thank you Tamara for doing your part to change one consumer at a time, and for changing many at once with this informative post!

        1. Neal

          And that is why the rest of New England ignores Connecticut (that and the NY Yankees thing). No true New Englander would buy brown colored corn syrup, let alone acknowledge its existence as something to put on pancakes.

  7. Ava

    This has been so informative, thank you. The taste of my Aunt Jemima lite was so lacking in flavor, I thought about tossing it. Bought a bottle of Kirkland (Costco) brand today; hope it’s better.

  8. Mandy

    I buy real maple syrup. Fortunately, in NE Ohio it is easy to come by even though yes, it is more expensive. Sometimes we even get lucky and get some as a gift!
    Here is the way I look at it though: when something costs more I’m careful about rationing it. A little real maple syrup goes a long way (longer than the fake stuff because the real stuff is a lot thinner and spreads easier) so by using the real stuff and being careful to use only a small amount not only do we benefit from using a real food rather than a fake combination of chemicals, we also end up consuming LESS sugar.

  9. happy momma

    Great post. I am like that, I have posts rolling around in my head sometimes for months before I finally put it down.
    People know that the artifical syrups are bad for them, many know that they are made with high fructose corn syrup thus the big label on the front of the bottle. People get fooled into thinking that a “no high fructose corn syrup” label makes it more healthy and it has less sugar. Then there is the “no sugar” syrup OH MY. It is crazy people think that these labels mean that it is a healthier option. Nothing is further from the truth.

    I have never been fooled, but the problem is I grew up on these products. I do not like the flavor of real maple syrup (or real vanilla for that matter.) I have been so addicted to the artifical flavors. This is what I associate maple flavored to be. I used the real stuff once and I was dissapointed, it didn’t taste like the maple syrup I grew up with. But that was several years ago. My tastes have changed over the last few years. I have grown to really love real food. I now love butter instead of margarine I grew up with margarine, and I used to hate butter, you couldn’t make me eat butter. Now I only use butter and the margarine makes me sick.
    I bet it will be the same with real maple syrup if I give it another try. It could be a fun experiment. I don’t use the stuff on pancakes anymore. We make our own buttermilk syrup but mostly use fruit purees etc. But I am inspired now to experiment with real maple syrup. If I like it, I will have to smuggle it into the pancake house in my purse so I know what I am getting. Thanks for the inspiration to try again.

    1. Tamara Mannelly

      I know what you mean about your taste buds being used to the ‘fake stuff’. I grew up with skim milk, fat free everything and velveeta cheese. It does take time to transition your taste buds to accept the new flavors…but it can be done! Good luck with trying maple syrup again!!!

  10. Laila

    I never liked the store brands even as a child- too watery and no flavor. Hadn’t had any for YEARS, but lots of the newer recipes call for maple syrup. I looked into several, and I decided to get Maple Valley grade B syrup. Nicely thick yet with pour-ability, and the taste is excellent!

  11. Meg

    I’m lucky to live in Ontario, Canada, where every march we visit our local sugar bush and gorge ourselves on pancakes and syrup, watch the sap being boiled down, and buy syrup in gallon jugs πŸ™‚ To answer a few questions- Maple syrup is graded based on colour, as the season progresses and warms up, the sap changes colour. The darker syrup usually has a stronger maple taste; the lighter colour has a lighter taste. I don’t think the nutritional value changes much in the month or so when the sap runs..

    Why is real maple syrup so expensive? Because it takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup! Real maple syrup also lasts for a very long time. We buy the largest jug (60-70$) and once opened, we store it at the back of the fridge- it will easily last a year like that. Of course, that only applies if you don’t eat it all before that πŸ™‚

  12. Karen Clark

    I am totally a Maple Syrup snob! I grew up in Ohio, but my parents were from Western New York and we only ever had Maple Syrup. It is divine. I am still in Ohio and have several local sources also, thanks to a CSA and a state park that makes it also. I refuse to buy that “other” stuff!

  13. kaymer

    When I was a kid we always kept the fake syrup in the cupboard, but I learned the hard way that you can”t do that with the real stuff. once its opened, ALWAYS keep it in the fridge. Mine got green slimy stuff in it when I left it out.

    1. Lee

      Maple syrup can be salvaged. Put it in a double boiler and heat it to boiling. You can then skim off the ‘bad’ stuff which will rise to the surface. Cool and put back in the fridge.

  14. Planetpj

    My favorite was the microwaveable syrup, so not only are you getting all of the delicious chemicals, you get the added chemicals leached from the plastic bottle when you microwave……gross!

  15. Michele

    Good post. It’s very sad how few people realize the poisons they are ingesting. Another thing to be aware of with syrup is that much of the real syrup is processed with formaldehyde, which leaches into the syrup. I know the syrup at Costco is processed this way.

    1. rasqual

      Um, no. It’s not. Not unless you can cite some evidence. Otherwise, you’re misrepresenting the product.

      Indeed, I’d like to know if you, or anyone else, can point to any domestic maple syrup that’s processed with formaldehyde.

      If not, such irresponsible claims should be stricken from such comments sections.

  16. Michele

    PS: The non-organic that Costco sells. I don’t believe organic can be processed with formaldehyde.

  17. Kimberly Robinson

    I have to admit, I rolled my eyes a bit reading this, incredulous that anyone doesn’t know that most of the syrup in the grocery store is total garbage. But then I remembered that not everyone is lucky enough to live in a place like I do, where you can get in your car and take a five minute drive through the maples that are tapped each year, past the sugar house where the sap is boiled and filtered, and buy syrup directly from the family who has been producing it in this area for twenty years. Go to any diner in my town, or to the twice yearly pancake breakfast at the local airport, and you’ll see lots of people who come with their own jug of real maple syrup in hand. The real thing is worth every penny!

  18. Kimberly Robinson

    Wanted to mention too, per my local producer, that if your syrup gets a little mold in it, you can reboil and skim it out and it’ll be good as new.

  19. Kate

    Where we live we can buy a case of a dozen 1 litre organic grade b maple syrup for $200. $17 a litre! Love that price! Also love the depth of flavour in grade b. used to buy cheap stuff years ago…converted my mom and stepdad in the last year too which is a major win for team whole foods!

  20. Dana

    I am on a mission to eliminate all chemicals and fake stuff from our home and now I can toss another bottle of poison into the trash! My father died a horrible death from cancer about a month ago and he and I started having conversations about all of the crap that is sold to the American public. He was convinced that is what gave him cancer. We are so naive and have to start changing the way we think about what we put in and on our bodies. I now make all of my own beauty products and am revamping my kitchen habits, too. Thank you for this great information!

  21. Cindy S

    It’s really easy to make your own maple syrup. We tap a few trees and boil the sap down in a stainless steal pot. It takes awhile, but it’s worth it:)

  22. Jo Ellen

    Yes, there are places in the USA, where maple trees don’t grow and the snow rarely falls. πŸ™‚ Where I come from, (in south Mississippi) we have blackstrap molasses, which is made from sugarcane. I never liked the taste as a kid, too strong and thick for me. (My mom used it on her pancakes.) Give me Log Cabin syrup!! The thinner, the better!! LOL! Can’t say that I like molasses too much, but it makes wonderful gingerbread! We rarely use syrup now, using honey instead, but after reading this, I WILL be buying some maple syrup. I have never tasted it, but always wanted to.
    Mom talks about her childhood days and her dad cutting the sugarcane, squeezing the juice out using a mule, boiling it in big pots, and making cane syrup from it.
    Thanks for the post and inspiration to eat healthier!!

  23. Candice Zeller

    I was raised on Pure Maple Syrup. I had relatives that owned sugar bushes. We use to go around and visit will they were sugaring to get that good taste of the best syrup around. When we use to go and visit my grandmother she would put a spread on of sugar on snow, maple butter on homemade donuts and a cake with boiled maple frosting. My mom still makes this for us so the tradition lives on. All I can say once you use real you’ll never use fake. I have always ate real Maple Syrup and my family never got fake stuff. The only restaurant I will eat pancakes at is Cracker Barrel they use the real syrup they come in little maple syrup bottles. I live in Northern New York near the Canadian border. Thank you for giving info to people on this.

  24. Kathy Grill

    To be fair, the “Log Cabin” brand of syrup does not claim to be ‘maple syrup’. It says “all natural syrup” or “table syrup” but does not make the claim to be maple. I would think it’s still a stretch for the ‘all natural’ tag but.. they don’t really need much of anything to be able to use that labelling. I haven’t done a good search of a syrup aisle in a while but as far as I’ve been able to tell, unless a product states clearly that it is ‘maple syrup’, it isn’t. “Maple flavoured” doesn’t cut it. It won’t have any maple syrup, just that ‘lovely’ flavouring stuff. People can make their own syrup using plain sugar, if they want to avoid the corn syrup junk. Of course we know, sugar still isn’t the greatest but I think I’d take sugar over this corn junk. Just boil your sugar with water to the consistency you want. If you want some colour, add vanilla or molasses. Fairly easy enough. But.. nothing beats real maple syrup. Now I have a craving and nary a bottle in sight! LOL

    1. Tamara Mannelly

      Well, none of the ‘non-maple syrups’ can claim to be maple syrup. However, many, many people do not know the difference and think they are buying maple syrup. Reading ingredient labels is so important!

      I have a craving now too! πŸ˜‰

  25. Tahlia

    I refuse to buy ”syrup” however I am Australian and we are very limited in our choices when I it comes to buying maple syrup, 250mls costs $12.00, my daughter loves maple syprup on her porridge, and so far it is the only type of sugar that has been added to her food! πŸ™ I came upon this blog when searching for purchasing maple syrup online to see if I could source it cheaper online but so far I am having trouble finding places in Australia or that ship to Australia at a reasonable price! πŸ™ Hopefully more people find this post and see the nasties that lurk in their syrup!

    1. Louie

      Tahlia,

      I know this is an old comment thread and article, but just thought you’d like to know that amazon has okay shipping rates. There’s a flat fee of $5 USD, then $3 USD per pound. Here’s the shipping page: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=596190
      If you were to get two big bottles every few months, just to save you that extra flat fee, and then also “subscribe,” you’d be able to save an additional 5% on the price. Just be wary of duty you may have to pay.
      You can also try this site. I don’t live in Australia, so I don’t know their shipping rates to Australia. Try inputting yours to see what it’s like. Out of all the online retailers, I found that this was the only one that sold 100% maple syrup hard candies, instead of the 35% maple + 65% other tasteless stuff. Also, just a tip, when ordering syrup from amazon, try to order from single entities. What I mean is, it’s best if the label can tell you the specific farm at which it was made. If you can’t get a small farm product, then go for the label that can tell you location (e.g. Quebec, Vermont, Ontario, etc.). Some brands don’t tell you because they don’t always use the same supplier, and so the product isn’t necessarily consistent.
      I hope you’ve either been able to find a good supply for a more affordable price, or will be able to!

  26. Layla

    well, Duh!!!!!

    What WOULD be useful to maple syrup lovers is a list of companies for consumers to refer to that sell the REAL DEAL, along w the sizes and grades.
    Online and retail.

    This would be a great help.

    Thanks.

    1. Tamara Mannelly

      Sadly to many people this information is not ‘duh’. Of course real food/maple syrup lovers know all of this already but I work with gobs of clients who are shocked by this information! It is sad, really.

  27. fred

    “contains no hfcs” typically contains “corn syrup”

    I would love to see a label

    “contains no corn sourced sweeteners”

  28. Anna Donald

    After researching if we can make maple syrup in Australia I found your article. We have only two types of real maple syrup on the shelves but you are right. It is so worth it and we do spend a little more and get the ‘good stuff’

  29. Sharon in Houston

    Several years ago, Cooks Illustrated wrote an article concerning maple syrup and noted that Log Cabin, decades ago, had a percentage of maple syrup among its ingredients in its pancake syrup. Over the years, the folks at Log Cabin gradually reduced, then eliminated altogether its maple syrup content believing consumers would not notice the difference. I thought it was my taste buds that changed because Log Cabin didn’t taste the same, but it was them, not me (and others who grew up having the brand accompany pancakes and waffles at the breakfast table. Today, if I purchase maple syrup, I make sure it’s the real thing and shell out a few extra dollars.

    http://www.cooksillustrated.com/taste_tests/449-maple-and-pancake-syruphttp://www.cooksillustrated.com/taste_tests/449-maple-and-pancake-syrup

  30. Stephanie

    We use the Log Cabin All Natural. My little one is allergic to all things from trees (we haven’t tested Maple, but seriously, we’re not taking chances his allergies are so bad)..so rice it is for him/us.

  31. Claudia

    By reading this article, It seems like maple syrup is God’s gift to the world. I don’t think I have ever tasted it, but I am sure it’s delicious. I love making pancakes for my three year old, and I was disappointed at the fact that I was feeding my baby fake syrup. Aunt jemima I use. Next time I get to the store I will get real maple syrup. Yikes.. I feel so dumb!

  32. rasqual

    I don’t get it.

    Everyone knows all those syrups are not maple syrup. They’re not “fake” at all. “Fake” would be something labeled “Maple Syrup” that isn’t maple syrup. But none of these claim to be maple syrup.

    I don’t know a single person who can’t tell the difference between cheap “Log Cabin” and expensive Maple syrup.

    I’m not saying these non-fake, cheap, crummy alternatives to maple syrup have redeeming value, besides being a cheap alternative to dry pancakes if you’re stuck somewhere without any decent syrup around. But it’s just weird to call them “fake,” and also weird to imagine that a public service is served by announcing, as if it required investigation to discover the nefariousness of it all, that all these things are “fake.”

    When I clicked the link I thought some products might be making false claims. I’m surprised to see THE OBVIOUS being explained as if it were some grand surprise.

    ????

    1. HughDjunit

      Disagree. If you asked people dining at your local IHOP what kind of syrup they like on their pancakes, they would say Blueberry, Raspberry or Maple syrup thinking that is precisely what the server put on their table. The author of this article could have easily written the same about Blueberry and Raspberry syrups. Sadly; people are dumb and they don’t read labels. Thanks be to bloggers who shine a light on this stuff.

        1. BiologyProf

          Stumbled on this blog and page while searching for a recipe, and I could scarcely believe the number of unsubstantiated claims. (I followed your link on phosphoric acid out of curiosity… that is NOT good evidence! not even the observational study!) Please think about the consequences of spreading distorted information. But mostly, I was struck by the premise of the title. I do not think “most people… just assume [the syrups] are the same,” but this is one area where I lack all but the most anecdotal evidence. πŸ™‚

  33. Abigail's Mommy

    I am a Maine girl currently living in Texas. I buy my maple syrup at Costco. So far that is the best price I have found and the bottle is not small. We go threw a lot of syrup. When we go out to eat I would ask if they had real syrup everyone says yes. Then they bring that stuff. Gross! I no longer eat things that require syrup out of the house.

  34. Kristen

    You would be surprised how many people don’t know what they are eating!! I grew up the “U.P.” (upper peninsula of Michigan), where we make lots of real maple syrup, so it’s readily available at any grocery store and most of the time my parents would get it from friends in exchange for a bushel of apples from our orchard or veggies from the garden. Now I live in Texas and have been met with many puzzled looks when I talk about real maple syrup (” what do you mean ‘real maple syrup,’ isn’t all maple syrup real?” they say as they enjoy their corn syrup-based product.). I’ve explained the difference to multiple servers at breakfast restaurants. Fortunately, there are a couple of progressive, real good restaurants that serve it by request for an extra charge. But it was definitely one of many small culture shocks for me when I moved here! We use maple syrup as a sweetener quite a bit in lieu of sugar, so I was happy to find organic jugs at a good price at Costco. Although I have nothing against Canada’s product, I do miss the Michigan-made products I grew up with!

    1. Tamara Mannelly

      Great point! Yes, I am always amazed how few people realize this, which is why I wrote the post. I live in Chicago area and have eaten at many breakfast places…hardly any of which actually use real maple syrup. Thank you so much for commenting!!!

  35. RosyPosy

    Huge syrup snob here. Stopped eating table syrup years ago, but was raised on the stuff. My parents were health nuts, but too cheap to buy maple syrup so would buy Log Cabin instead. I recall it tasting better than other table syrups at the time, but always knew it wasn’t the real deal. I do remember reading Log Cabin labels as a kid (as a vegetarian, you’re taught to read the ingredient lists of everything you eat) and they did advertise containing real maple syrup. I would lord that fact over all my friends that had Aunt Jemima’s.

    Not surprised that some people don’t know the difference between real and fake syrup, especially in places where maply syrup farming is uncommon. Many restaurant menus state that they have maple syrup but, will give you packets of Smuckers syrup instead. I’ve had servers argue me down trying to convince me that the garbage they serve is actually maple syrup. I now travel with my own bottle of maple syrup because I refuse to eat pancakes without it. Not
    only does this ensure that I enjoy my pancakes, but I can also teach servers what real maple syrup looks like. The more you know πŸ™‚

    1. Tamara Mannelly

      I believe many of these table syrups used to contain some ‘real’ maple syrup. Sadly few, if any do today. It is cheaper to make it all fake. Thanks for commenting!!!

  36. Luke

    I am wondering if the girls care for real versus fake maple syrup?
    I want to impress chicks and want to know if paying extra works to charm her or not

  37. Taylor

    Thanks for the thorough explanation of real maple syrup! I just posted a new recipe that calls for maple syrup and I simply linked to this article to explain all about it πŸ™‚
    Taylor recently posted…Tempeh BaconMy Profile

  38. RobT

    Nice detailed post but I’m not sure how anyone would not know their ‘maple’ syrup is not genuine. Perhaps I am a maple syrup snob. I buy my maple syrup for the year from a small non-corporate supplier who makes a small batch from their private maple bush. It’s really dark and flavorful and I figure I pay less than half retail. It even comes in recycled alcohol bottles, with new labels, and the bottles differ year to year depending on supply. I know I’m lucky and I am thankful for my current supplier.

    1. Tamara Mannelly

      I am always surprised too! So many people I talk to have no idea that the Log Cabins of the world are not maple syrup. I always thought it was fairly common knowledge… πŸ™‚

  39. Jackie D

    No fraud intended…WE assume maple syrup…Aunt Jemima, Log Cabin, Mrs. Butterworth, etc, bottles say Pancake Syrup, Table Syrup, Maple flavored Syrup, original syrup…or just plain syrup. If the bottle doesn’t say Maple Syrup, it won’t be. The manufacturers are just depending on our assumptions to make purchases. Yes, we need to read the bottles…not just for the nutrition info on the back, but the big bold letters on the front that do or do not say Maple Syrup.

  40. HughDjunit

    Sadly American consumers have concluded that food is a commodity, like crude oil or pork bellies and therefore look for the largest amount of food for the lowest price. Consequently, Corporations and restaurants are only to happy to provide an abundance of Phactory Phoods that cost the least to produce in order to make the most profits. Exactly what shareholders and consumers want. Big Agricultural conglomerates produce Agent Orange and RoundUp Ready crops and GMO Seeds scientifically designed to increase crop yields. Expecting your favorite restaurant to replace artificial pancake syrup at $20 gallon with Real Maple syrup at $100 gallon is a fantasy. I won’t even bother to continue with this argument as relates to Organic vs Conventional farming methods. If consumers demanded, purchased and consumed only organically grown sustainable foods, most of the diseases, allergies and inflammations that afflict them would be eradicated. Thanks for pulling back small thread of the curtain.

  41. W. McCollum

    If any of the syrups your cited as “fake maple syrup” claimed to be maple syrup you would have had a point to make. On none of the labels you published is there a claim that the syrup is maple. Most of them say specifically that it is corn syrup. Most of us who don’t live within 50 miles of the Canadian border have made do with corn syrup and cane and beet sugar for several hundred years.

  42. M Bowers

    I have been producing real maple syrup since the spring of 1998, I am not 50 miles from the Canadian border, I’m located in West Virginia. As the newly elected President of the West Virginia Maple Syrup Producers Assoc. I’m making a prediction that real Maple syrup will become more available and probably at cheaper prices. West Virginia as a state has more Maple Trees than Vermont, we need to ramp up production. Just in the last two years three sugaring operations started up with in fifty miles of me and they produced 7800 gallons of real maple syrup last spring. Production levels will continue to increase in our state, I know others that are ready to make the investment and start making Real Maple Syrup. More Real Syrup, More options for the consumer!

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  44. Loki

    I went through this discovery process about twenty years ago. Since we live on a wooded lot with many maples, my solution was to buy about fifty used taps and buckets, several large stainless stockpots and a commercial stainless stove-top finishing pan. With this equipment I can make enough pure maple syrup in one season to last us about five years with some left over for neighborhood gifting and an occasional sale. I like to select seasons that will be long and steady, this is one of those years! So far I’ve resisted the temptation to become a commercial producer.

  45. Pingback: TIL "Maple syrups" Mrs. Butterworth's, Aunt Jemima and Log Cabin do NOT countain ANY Maple products. Flavour comes from corn syrup and caramel. | Reddit Spy

  46. Rick

    You don’t need to read the fine print. All those labels say “Original Syrup” “Americana Syrup” “Pancake Syrup”. Not one of them says MAPLE syrup. They aren’t fake, they are exactly what they say on the label. I didn’t even see “Maple Flavored” on any of your photos.

  47. Jeremy

    Someone linked this article, and frankly, I can’t believe someone took the time to make this article, take the pictures, and mock the manufacturers of these products. Not a single product you examined claims to be maple syrup. They’re just.. syrup. Are you really that daft?

  48. B

    This is kind of dumb, as these syrups never claimed to be maple syrup. How can they be fake maple syrups when they are clearly just labeled as syrup? Stupid rant about something that everyone should know. I mean, I knew this when I was five and putting Log Cabin on my pancakes and waffles. I knew that Log Cabin and maple syrup were different kinds of syrup. So… yeah…

    1. duh

      Thank you captain obvious. This is a liberal site. Thus logic and reason is avoided. I use and prefer pancake syrup wife HFCS. Maple syrup is ok in a pinch.

  49. Pingback: TIL "Maple syrups" Mrs. Butterworth's, Aunt Jemima and Log Cabin do NOT countain ANY Maple products. Flavour comes from corn syrup and caramel. - Awesome Facts

  50. Rich

    Those little packets of “Honey Sauce” at KFC are only 7% real honey. The rest is corn syrup and other junk.

  51. FeNiX

    WTF??!! No offence, but this article is totally ridiculous. I came to this link thinking that perhaps this was about some maple syrup fraud that I’d never heard of (in the same way that there is honey fraud and olive oil fraud happening around the world), however that is not the case. If a product says ‘pancake syrup’ or simply ‘syrup’ then it is NOT fake maple syrup! It never even claimed to be maple syrup!! If, on the other hand, a product claims on the label to be 100% maple syrup and turns out to not be 100% maple syrup, then it would, indeed, be fake. Don’t get me wrong… I prefer real maple syrup, and I think that pancake syrups that contain high fructose corn syrup and other chemicals are totally disgusting. However, syrup is syrup. Maple syrup is maple syrup. If something says it is ‘syrup’ (which is more of a description, rather than a specific food item, (much like the word ‘sauce’) then it is not claiming to be maple syrup!!! I can’t even believe that I wasted my time reading and responding to this idiotic article!

    1. FeNiX

      …an added note: in what world would you expect to pay 3 or 4 bucks for REAL maple syrup at a supermarket??!! And of course you’re not going to get real maple syrup in some restaurant that serves breakfast, unless it’s a fancy shi-shi restaurant or hotel where you pay top dollar, and even then I’d still be surprised. Get a grip!! Maple syrup is delicious, healthy, and EXPENSIVE (because of the process of extracting the sap from trees, drop by drop). It’s worth the high price of paying for real maple syrup. But don’t go to a supermarket looking at the $4 and under ‘syrups’ that don’t even claim to be ‘maple syrup’ and then throw a hissy fit because it isn’t maple syrup!!

      1. Tamara Mannelly

        The sad thing is…you know this. I know this…but many people do not. Most of the clients I work with (many are very well educated people) are shocked to find this out. I was amazed…which is why I wrote the post.

  52. Pingback: MAPLE SYRUP…BUT NOT THE FAKE SHIT! Real Deal, 100%, Organic Syrup | The Skinny Confidential || A Lifestyle Blog. by: Lauryn Evarts

  53. Pe

    Cracker Barrel was the only chain restaurant to feature 100% real maple syrup with its pancakes.

    Unfortunately they have now switched to serving 100% natural syrup. This syrup still contains 55% maple syrup, so it is still way better than Log Cabin and Aunt Jeminma which contain no maple syrup at all.

    More on Cracker Barrels’ change to ‘100% natural syrup’
    http://consumerist.com/2009/11/22/cracker-barrel-maple-syrup-struck-by-shrink-ray-and-sugar-ray/

    What happened to the maple syrup at Cracker Barrel.
    http://livingpureandsimple.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/what-happened-to-maple-in-cracker.html

  54. Marc Jansen

    Vermont Maple syrup is as good as any in the World also and there are grades of darkness for real syrup.
    Also, if you can’t get because of availability or afford the real item for whatever reason, I would suggest trying butter and a little white powder sugar instead before ever going to an artificial product. Still, in a pinch some artificial substitutes can be fine!
    As for what you like, give me French toast over pancakes most of the time.
    As for the type of flower the pancakes are made with, I’m basing my opinion on white flower and buttermilk or blueberry types as I dislike the wheat ones.

  55. Linda Julian

    I am glad you are educating people about our food quality. The more people learn, the better. I have been doing my own research on maple syrups as I got a very strong craving for it a couple of months ago. When I get these cravings I know there is a nutritional reason. I found out how rich maple syrup is in certain minerals. I always look for organic products just out of caution and because organic methods do increase the nutritional value of food. After looking at your article I looked up the difference between organic and no-organic syrups. I found a website that described the difference.

    No chemical usage on weed trees, roads or paths through the forests
    No lead soldered equipment in production on the farms or in the commercial kitchen facility
    Organic approved cleaning products in the bottling facility that do not leave chemical residue
    Non-chemical pest control monitoring systems (required for all processing facilities)
    A managed buffer between the maple woodlands and neighboring farms
    Responsible tapping (not over-tapping) so the tree has enough sap to grow vibrantly
    Responsible forest management (tree thinning, care of root systems under paths and roads, diversity of tree species other than maple, protection of wildlife habitat and healthy insects)
    Certified Organic vegetable oil or organic butter as a defoamer in sugar shack evaporators. Many non-organic farms use chemical defoamers, non-organic oils, butter or animal fat.

    This is food for thought.

  56. leslie

    I have to admit I was a little surprised by this particular blog…maybe because I come from a province that is known for its “maple” syrup and whose inhabitants would never assume that something called just “syrup” would ever imply being related to Maple Syrup.

    Of course things just referred to as “syrup” would be nothing more than a very large medley of fructose/glucose/corn syrups/etc etc etc….just as the “name” suggests….

    I guess I wasn’t sure why there would even be a doubt that anyone in their right mind would assume something labelled SYRUP would be MAPLE SYRUP in disguise…

  57. tim

    its all sugar no matter cane, maple sap, or high fructose.. one is not healthier than the other. Now you do have a point with the other chemicals.. but sweeteners are all the same.

  58. Emma

    Hello, not sure if this thread is still active but…
    I would like to ask something that may seem a stupid question: Can you smell or taste the difference between the real and fake stuff?
    I only ask because I have a fairly significant allergy to fake maple syrup, but apparently not to the real stuff. More than the allergy though, the smell of fake maple syrup makes me gag and feel nauseous. I would find it really bizarre if non-allergic people could smell/taste no difference because to me they are chalk and cheese.
    Any thoughts?

  59. jason steinberger

    I just wanted to put my 2 cents in, ive tried nearly a dozen different “real” maple syrups and I am convinced everyone of them are yucky, I’ll forever take the “fake” stuff every time.

  60. William Bernstein

    The syrups you’ve exposed as fake maple syrup never claimed to be maple syrup in the first place. They’re all labeled “syrup”, “pancake syrup”, etc., which could be anything with a syrupy consistency…heavy gear oil, for instance. I use Great Choice Pure Maple Syrup, Wal-Mart’s private label, whose ingredients include (surprise!, surprise!) pure maple syrup. Duh.

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  63. Paul O'Neal

    What do you think about Wholesome Organic Syrup? The ingredients are: organic invert sugar cane syrup and organic caramel color.

    1. Tamara Mannelly

      Well, the ingredients are organic (which is better than most) but that still isn’t maple syrup. Maple syrup comes from a maple tree. It isn’t cane syrup with caramel color.

  64. Vasile

    Hi Tamara!
    Good post, very interesting!
    But i dont know which one is real, only to buy the most expensive dont seems to be a truly good strategy!
    So, which one you buy usual, galon? A link please!?

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  66. Dean Mckell

    Hello,
    Although I am from the world’s largest producer of maple syrup(Quebec), I found a syrup producer from New Brunswick that blends organic sugar into the maple syrup they produce(the process is patented). The result is quite astonishing- no loss of color/taste/appearance of pure maple syrup, just a product that you pay about 1/2 the price for! I know what pure maple syrup is-I just hate the cost associated with it. I’m sure many people would agree with me on this point.

  67. Denise F. Achuko

    I stopped using syrup on my food years ago because of HFCS only to hear recently that the honey I’m buying may not really be honey? Good thing I rarely make pancakes or waffles!

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  69. Karen B

    I recall at one time that Log Cabin syrup used to include 2% real maple syrup – said so on the front of the label.. Sadly no longer. With 5 kids, using the real deal was just way too expensive. And if you want real maple syrup on your pancakes or french toast, head to Cracker Barrel; you get an honest-to-goodness little glass bottle of 100% REAL maple syrup. I always bring home wahtever I don’t use!

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