Vermont maple industry to benefit from business planning tool

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont's Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) partnered with the Atlantic Corporation in 2020 and 2021 to deliver critical market assessment and business planning tools and information to benefit the Vermont maple syrup industry. Atlantic administered a multi-state consumer survey of product attitudes, preferences, and availability resulting in a final report and data dashboards outlining the market opportunities for Vermont maple syrup focusing on new distribution channels, key trends in consumer demand, innovations in value-added products, and other topics.

One tangible output from this partnership is the creation of a Maple Market Data Dashboard, which is based on the findings of the consumer surveys.

The consumer survey informing the Maple Data Dashboard was administered online and contained 36 questions, many with multiple parts. A total of 1,758 responses were collected and analyzed. The data was relatively evenly distributed across nine northeast states, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Survey questions spanned the following categories: knowledge of maple syrup, monthly food expenditures, willingness to pay, impact of the maple syrup industry, perceived local availability, perceived local quality, and preferred packaging.

Key Findings from this report include:

  • About 90% of consumers spend between $5 and $250 per year on maple products, in which the largest subgroup (about 50% of consumers) spend between $20 and $90.
  • Nearly half of consumers make their purchases in supermarkets, which is evidently the main retail channel of the products.
  • Consumer purchase behavior also shows a clear seasonal pattern: most purchases are in the fall season, followed by winter and spring seasons. The fewest purchases are made in the summer season, which is only half of the amount in the fall season.
  • Accordingly, consumers spent about $40 of their annual maple budget on maple syrup in the past 12 months, a significant portion of their annual maple budget.
  • The amber color and rich taste maple syrup is ranked the most preferred flavor profile, followed by the dark color and robust taste syrup, very dark color and strong taste syrup, and golden color and delicate taste syrup.
  • The clear glass container in quart or pint size is the most preferred packaging.

The Maple Data Dashboard audience includes maple producers, processors, extension professionals, research scientists, and VAAFM employees. The tool can be used to inform business, sales, and marketing plans, based on consumer demand.

View the data dashboard here:

Atlantic Corporation is a leading business and economic research and development firm. Our team and national network of experts provide exceptional research and development services for agriculture, including aquaculture and local food. We work collaboratively with clients to develop innovative solutions that propel sustainable natural resource-based, rural economies. Our work propels successful commercial transformations, product and business launches, and the development of significant new revenue streams from the creative use of business intelligence.

Atlantic Corporation. Waterville, Maine