Bookmark and Share March 1, 2010 - Dave Mulder

Is Mrs. Butterworth a syrup fraud?

Maple syrup is quite literally the sap of a maple tree.

Later every Winter, in parts of the world like Canada and the American Northeast, temperatures begin to shift between freezing night and above-freezing daytime. This variation signals not only the early days of Spring, but also sap season. Maple farms come alive.

One gallon of maple syrup requires a 40 gallon input of maple sap (form either the sugar maple or black maple). This sap is processed by removing water through boiling (or reverse osmosis) until it reaches the density that pancake-lovers typically associate with syrup.

Because a fair amount of effort and energy goes into syrup production, it can be quite expensive.

Enter imitation syrup.

Imitation syrup is a cheap alternative to real syrup; basically you take a sweetener (it could be sugar, but high fructose corn syrup is more common) and make it viscous, then add some flavoring. If your bottle of syrup does not explicitly say “maple syrup”, then you are holding imitation syrup (United States laws prohibit imitation syrup from using the maple syrup name).

And this brings us to one of the most popular brands of imitation syrup: Mrs. Butterworth’s. Folks have been brainwashed into believing that Mrs. Butterworth’s is a premium product. Unfortunately, the association of maple syrup producers (the real stuff) do not have anywhere near the same advertising budget.

Ingredients in Mrs. Butterworth’s Thick & Rich syrup:  High fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, water, salt, cellulose gum, molasses, potassium sorbate (preservative), sodium hexametaphosphate, citric acid, caramel color, natural and artificial flavors.

Since I do not want to be the target of a Mrs. Butterworth slander lawsuit, I will stop here and simply say that while I have no interest in imitation syrup, you as a reader are certainly welcome to make up your own mind.

The title of this article asks, is Mrs. Butterworth a fraud? I suppose it depends on what the  manufacturers are trying to claim their product to be. It is certainly a higher-quality imitation syrup, but no imitation syrup ever matches up to real syrup (in my opinion). What do you think?

Real Food Grade: D

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