The North American’s have something that the rest of the world don’t. The maple tree. It may differ slightly year from year, but in general Canada accounts for about 80 % of the total production of maple syrup while the U.S. accounts for the remaining 20 %. And of Canada’s total export of maple syrup, just over 60 % goes to the U.S. So, all in all it is no exaggeration to say that the major part of the total production of maple syrup is consumed each year by North Americans. And we are talking about huge volumes. The total production of maple syrup in 2019 was 13,2 million UK gallons* in Canada and 4,24 million US gallons** in the U.S.
*1 UK gallon corresponding to 4,546 litres
*1 US (liquid) gallon corresponding to 3,785 litres
Maple syrup is a breakfast staple in North America and most people don't use it for much more than waffles and pancakes. However, the maple producers have started to market maple also as a sports refuel product, due to its nutritional value. We’re talking about products like juice, smoothies, energy drinks or snacks containing maple water or maple syrup.
We're not saying that Canadian - or North American – hockey players have an advantage over other hockey players just because of their maple syrup consumption. But the good thing with maple syrup is that it is a 100 % natural product, pure and free from additives. It is boiled down from the maple tree sap and obviously rich in riboflavin (which contributes to the normal metabolism of iron) and manganese (strengthen bones and connective tissue). And it contains all the antioxidant molecules (like copper) that the maple tree produces to protect itself in its wild environment. This “learn from the nature” argument is attractive we think, as a counterweight to all the artificial supplements that covers the sports market today. It therefore pleases us that the maple producers finally seem to have made up their mind to focus on the nutritional values when marketing maple products globally.
So, to all athletes playing hockey outside of North America, when looking for “refuel products”, keep your eyes open as well for the maple products that now are entering the international market. As a matter of fact, it might be a good idea also for those of you who are engaged in other sports than hockey or even those of you that are not engaged in any sports at all.
We're eager to hear your relation to maple syrup and your view on its nutritional value in general and for athletes in particular