Flavor Insight: Maple

July 2, 2021
Flavor Trends

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Maple refers to the flavor of maple syrup, a reduction of sap taken from the maple tree. Maple sugar, which is about twice as sweet as white sugar, can be created when maple syrup is boiled until all of the water has evaporated. It is best described as a unique ingredient with a silky-texture and a sweet distinctive flavor. It is best known for topping pancakes and waffles, but also used for or marinades, baking and cocktails. This sweet syrup is also one of the most used natural sweeteners. Let's take a closer look at maple on the menu, in social media, and in new products.

Maple Social Listening Summary

We conducted a social listening analysis on maple covering the previous 12 months. An overview is provided below.

855,452 mentions in the past year

53% female voice

Popular Posts

Twitter: @diethood posted a recipe for a Maple Bacon Wrapped Brussel Sprouts with a description of “You’ll love these show stopping Maple Bacon-Wrapped Brussels Sprouts, especially for the holidays! Brussels sprouts get the royal treatment with a delicious maple glaze and smokey bacon wrap!”

Blog: Freshwater Feasts posted a recipe for Autumn Acorn Squash Bake that is a vegan- and vegetarian-friendly dish that includes maple syrup, wild rice, chopped walnuts and dried Michigan cherries.

2,665 maple recipes on foodnetwork.com

On foodnetwork.com. 2,665 recipes appear when you search Maple. Recipes vary from savory dishes to sweet drinks and treats. Some very popular recipes were of course buttermilk pancakes, Butternut squash soup with maple sour cream and sour cream coffee cake with a maple syrup glaze.

Short & Sweet & Savory Too!

Wondering how maple has brought so many fun dishes, drinks and desserts to the table? Us too. A recipe in Bon Appetit highlights how easy it can be to candy your favorite nut with maple to gussy up your dessert. In the May 2021 edition of Bon Appetit, they feature Short is Sweet (and Savory!) summer recipes that can be done in 30 minutes or less. One of the recipes is Rum-Soaked Fruit Sundaes, showcasing how to mull fruit with rum for a dazzling and boozy dessert that is topped with a coconut crunch featuring maple syrup.

Maple on the Menu

2,849 maple mentions on the menu in 2020

Maple is found on 22% of all restaurant menus and is showing 21% growth since 2016. Casual dining is the top restaurant segment, with entrée and beverages as the top menu sections with the most maple flavored menu items. Entrées account for 50% of all maple flavored menu items.

Menu Mentions:

  • Maple Bacon Milkshake: A vanilla milkshake blended with sweet maple glaze and original hickory-smoked bacon pieces. Crowned with whipped topping, a drizzle of maple glaze and a slice of candied bacon. | IHOP

  • Maple Kissed Sweet Potatoes: Roasted sweet potatoes toppled with a maple glaze. | Tropical Smoothie Cafe

  • Black Walnut Old Fashioned with Maple Syrup: Basil Haydens bourbon, orange peel, maple syrup, a dash of black walnut bitters & fresh rosemary.

Add Maple Syrup to Your Charcuterie

The basic and beautiful charcuterie board includes an assortment of meats, cheeses, artisan breads, olives, fruit, and nuts but consumers wonder how they can make theirs unique? Lately, consumers are looking for the trendy, “wow” factor on their charcuterie board and an article from Feast and Fields found the perfect ingredients. They recommend pairing a sweet with a savory, for example gouda and maple syrup. Along with many other ways to make a board stand out using unique, surprising ingredients is the finest way.

Maple Global New Product Introductions 2015-2020

1,437 Maple Flavored Global New Product Introductions

  • NORTH AMERICA is the top global region for maple flavored new product introductions with Asia Pacific coming in second.

  • SYRUP is the top product sub-category globally for maple flavored new products.

  • PECAN is the top flavor paired with maple globally.

Products of Note:

Fehlberg’s Maple Bourbon Flavored Cucumber Spears: this product is described as crisp and crunchy and as a perfect accompaniment for sandwiches, it is said to be sweet and smoky. | Australia

Morrisons Pecan & Maple Flavor Balls: This vegan product is described as date and cashew plant-based balls with soya crunchies, pecan nuts and maple flavor, and coated in ground almonds. | UK

Sainsbury’s Maple & Black Pepper Scottish Smoked Salmon: This product is described as smoked over oak wood and finished with sweet maple syrup and a sprinkle of cracked black pepper and has been responsibly sourced from locations around the West of Scotland from farms. | UK

Maple North America New Product Introductions 2015-2020

993 Maple Flavored New Product Introductions

  • NORTH AMERICA accounts for 22% of all maple flavored new product introductions.

  • SYRUP is the top product sub-category for maple flavored new products.

  • BROWN SUGAR is the top flavor paired with maple.

Products of Note:

ALDI Specially Selected Pork Meatballs with Maple & Bacon Seasoning are said to be fully cooked and contain 15g of protein per serving. 44% of consumers stated they would likely or definitely buy this product, outperforming its subcategory. | USA

Trader Joe's Maple Espresso Black Tea Blend: naturally flavored with other natural flavors. The tea is said to be espresso-infused, bold and delicious. 34% of consumers stated they would likely or definitely buy this product, outperforming its subcategory. | USA

Simple Truth Free From Maple Pecan Flavored Oatmilk Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert: this plant based product is described as rich, creamy and delicious, is free from lactose, dairy and GMO. 39% of consumers stated they would likely or definitely buy this product, outperforming its subcategory. | USA

The Takeaways

Maple is showing 26% growth from 2019-2020 with products appearing across the globe. We are also spotting growth in maple flavored menu items with 21% growth since 2016. Casual dining is the top restaurant segment and entrées account for 50% of all maple flavored menu items. Maple is being used in so many ways beyond just topping your pancakes and waffles and has expanded into so many new product categories and even being used as a natural sweetener. The question is—is maple on your Flavor Radar?

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Sources in full report