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Sector Trend Analysis - Maple products in China

November 2017

  • Canadian dollar (CAD$)

Executive summary

This report is meant to highlight potential opportunities for maple products and ingredients in the Chinese market, through an analysis of new maple products introductions in China as well as an analysis of new food and beverage products containing maple ingredients.

China’s imports of maple syrup and maple-related products have come mainly from two suppliers; Canada and the U.S. China’s imports show that there has been a 29% increase between 2015 and 2016. Chinese tourism to Canada grows and leads to increasing awareness of Canada’s maple products.

China imported a total of 81,544 kilograms of maple products for a value of 1,090,125 CAD in 2016. These numbers represent an impressive 56% increase in value from 2012 making the Chinese market for maple products a very attractive one.

In China, Canadian maple syrup is often regarded as having healthy attributes, such as being an "organic," "additive-free," or "natural" product. Many Chinese consumers are trying to incorporate maple syrup as an alternative to refined sugar. Honey and maple syrup may also be preferred over sugar by natural-food lovers and users of Chinese medicinal products.


Market overview

According to Euromonitor, consumers’ rising health awareness has led to a slow expansion of sugar and sweeteners in 2016. As Chinese consumers become more educated about food, an increasing number of consumers choose to lessen their sugar consumption in a bid to avoid diabetes and obesity by using alternative sugar and sweetners such as maple and honey.

In order to cater to rising consumer demands for healthy foods, an increasing number of foodservice outlets offered consumers reduced-sugar options on their menus, in particular tea shops and coffee specialists. Meanwhile, many bakery stores launched new products with less sugar. However, the market for sugar and sweetners in China remains strong, ranking fourth in terms of compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

Top ten market sizes of sugar and sweetners in 000’s of tonnes in terms of CAGR January 2012 to December 2016
Rank Country 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 CAGR(2012-2016)
1 China 8,392.50 9,531.60 9,626.90 9,819.40 9,996.20 4%
2 Nigeria 2,606.50 2,756.10 2,911.20 3,063.70 3,233.70 6%
3 Algeria 1,212.40 1,267.00 1,322.10 1,382.00 1,446.80 5%
4 Morocco 1,074.40 1,118.80 1,163.50 1,212.60 1,263.10 4%
5 Philippines 1,053.30 1,093.90 1,135.20 1,171.50 1,204.40 3%
6 Cameroon 356.1 375.1 394.6 413.5 435.8 5%
7 Tunisia 277.8 289.6 301.5 312.7 324.9 4%
8 Kenya 169.4 174.6 180.9 186.2 190.8 3%
9 United Arab Emirates 154.6 160.8 167.8 176.2 182.3 4%
10 Singapore 78.1 81.8 85.5 88.6 90.7 4%

Source: Euromonitor 2017

Trade overview

In 2016, China imported about CAD$1.1 million worth of maple products worldwide. Overall, the world’s exports to China have been growing at an extraordinary rate of 56% from 2012 to 2016.

Top ten countries importing maple products in billions of CAD$ January 2012 to December 2016
Rank Country 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
1 United States 157,814,596 178,447,208 195,649,434 228,988,004 236,393,674
2 Japan 31,054,969 31,936,210 34,568,298 33,935,858 29,961,727
3 Germany 17,948,650 21,158,506 22,899,771 25,358,053 29,686,134
4 United Kingdom 13,384,326 16,854,440 18,233,358 22,783,944 25,499,652
5 Canada 8,507,958 12,053,371 12,493,735 13,614,896 21,980,417
6 Australia 9,215,753 11,207,679 13,880,301 17,631,799 17,532,755
7 Netherlands 3,317,555 3,052,970 7,113,635 13,084,139 15,880,147
8 France 9,001,270 11,700,546 12,277,782 13,623,100 13,784,291
9 Denmark 4,853,871 5,301,122 5,697,003 6,899,662 6,810,496
10 Italy 3,887,572 2,461,680 5,100,256 3,945,933 6,751,978
26 China 18,5935 318,633 635,324 845,858 1,090,125

Source: Mintel, 2017

There is an opportunity for Canadian producers who want to cater to the needs of health-conscious sweet-toothed Chinese consumers in search of sugar substitutes and to the needs of splurging consumers. Moreover, China is the largest overall market in the Asia-Pacific region for sweet spreads with 142,000 tonnes sold in 2016 alone and a 10% growth rate from 2012 to 2016. One of the main growth drivers of sweet spreads is their convenience. Since it does not take long to prepare snacks or meals using spreads, such products are experiencing widespread consumption.

Top ten fastest growing countries importing maple products in CAD$ January 2012 to December 2016
Rank Country 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 CAGR (2012-2016)
1 Venezuela 87 0 315 808 24,353 309%
2 Algeria 3,930 8,125 251 21,131 140,740 145%
3 Croatia 107,224 149,885 190,018 212,785 1,032,192 76%
4 Cyprus 21,043 109,397 47,163 114,278 138,155 60%
5 Kosovo 4,471 33,382 10,136 9,586 27,566 58%
6 China 185,935 318,633 635,324 845,858 1,090,125 56%
7 Senegal 3,122 6,053 8,387 3,179 17,740 54%
8 Kenya 24,805 50,854 58,327 45,051 134,024 52%
9 Slovakia 228,184 283,586 460,739 1,041,890 1,191,330 51%
10 Hungary 189,762 359,531 236,800 804,692 967,663 50%

Source: Mintel, 2017

Maple trade trends: Canada’s exports

Exporting to 82 countries, Canada is the biggest exporter of maple syrup and maple-related products in the world capturing 81.6% of the world’s market share in 2016.

According to Global Trade Tracker (GTT), Canadian exports of maple syrup and maple-related products to the world, have been growing steadily in value since 2008, reaching CAD$381M in 2016. Atlhough there was a decline in total export value in 2010 of CAD$22M, value sales resumed an upward growth pattern in 2011.

Of Canada’s top ten maple syrup and maple-related products fastest growing product export destinations between 2012 and 2016, China was ranked eighth with a 38% increase while Malaysia topped the chart with a 209% increase.

Canada’s top ten maple syrup and maple-related fastest growing product export destinations in CAD$, January 2012 to December 2016
Rank Country 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 CAGR(2012-2016)
1 Belgium 880,038 1,329,078 2,033,818 2,275,746 3,126,450 37%
2 Ireland 225,525 317,117 745,902 1,643,352 1,530,817 61%
3 China 361,532 559,331 800,285 1,014,354 1,299,276 38%
4 Czech Republic 273,267 531,129 856,796 1,040,569 1,147,364 43%
5 United Arab Emirates 63,590 150,418 107,438 212,671 314,501 49%
6 Latvia 21,420 12,852 50,901 32,637 68,098 34%
7 Colombia 5,442 0 35,487 21,792 21,293 41%
8 Bahrain 1,560 3,900 3,900 85,80 14,430 74%
9 Malaysia 10 15,383 6,552 0 910 209%
10 Senegal 44 89 533 336 316 64%

Source: Global Trade Tracker 2017

New product launch analysis

This section analyses maple syrup and maple-related products, based on new product launches in China from January 2006 to December 2016. New maple-related products include goods that consist of maple ingredients. This analysis provides examples of how maple is currently being used and marketed in a variety of food categories, as well as potential maple opportunites in China.

Maple and maple-related product launch analysis

According to Mintel, the majority of the maple products that were launched between 2006 and 2016 consisted of maple ingredients, such as maple sugar and maple syrup, but no new maple syrup products have been launched since 2002. The products mainly belonged to the snacks, bakery, and chocolate confectionary categories.

The prices of these products ranged from US$1.99 all the way to US$17.82. Factors such as package size, type and ingredients influence the price of any product. Synear Food’s ‘Synear Xiang Zong’ commanded the highest price per item.

Maple product introductions in China by price January 2006 to December 2016
Category type Company Brand Claims Price in US dollars Unit pack size
Snacks, nuts Tangshan Zhenzhu Chestnut Foods Pearl No Additives/Preservatives 1.73 100 g
Snacks, nuts Youi Group Leci Not specified 3.80 128g
Chocolate confectionary Tirol-Choco Tirol Not specified 2.72 54 g
Sweet biscuits/cookies Mage’s Foods Mage’s Low/No/Reduced Transfat 1.65 168 g
Side dishes, potato products Henan Synear Food Holding Synear Not specified 1.02 300 g
Bakery, cakes Taiwan Yougood Food Buono Vegetarian N/A 72 g
Snacks Synear Foods Synear Xiang Zong Microwaveable 17.82 4 x 240 g
Fruit & vegetables Dezhou Luying Food Luying No Additives/Preservatives N/A 500 g

Source: Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), 2017

Health and wellness

The strong growth of organic foods has had a positive effect on the natural ingredients industry, since many organic processed foods also contain natural extracts, colourings and flavours.

The market for organic and naturally-derived ingredients grew strongly in recent years, due to Chinese consumer awareness of the importance of nutrition and healthy eating. Organic maple sugar, syrups, and maple ingredients have a great potential to be increasingly incorporated into mainstream products.

According to Euromonitor, sales of organic products in China have achieved a 33% increase in compound annual growth rate, the biggest increase amongst all health and wellness claim categories.

Sales of health and wellness by type in China: % value growth 2011-2016
% current value growth 2015/2016 CAGR(2011-2016)
Better for you (BFY) 7 6
Fortified/functional (FF) 4.5 11.2
Free from 2 8
Naturally healthy (NH) 6.5 10.9
Organic 22.6 33
Health and wellness 5.5 11

Source: Euromonitor 2017

New product examples

Maple Syrup Flavoured Chestnut
Company Brand Category Sub-Category Country Country of Manufacture Import Status Store Name Store Type Launch Type Price in US Dollars
Tangshan Zhenzhu Chestnut Foods Pearl Snacks Nuts China China Not Imported Family Mart Convenience Store New Variety/Range Extension $1.73

Pearl Feng Jiang Gan Li (Maple Syrup Flavoured Chestnut) is free from preservatives and colourings. This product retails in a 100g pack.

News Cashew Nuts
Company Brand Category Sub-Category Country Country of Manufacture Import Status Store Name Store Type Launch Type Price in US Dollars
Youi Group Leci Snacks Nuts China China Not Imported Auchan Hypermarket New Variety/Range Extension $3.80

Leci Niu Shi Yao Guo (News Cashew Nuts) are now available in a 128g pack. The product is being sold in hypermarkets for a retail price of US$3.80.

Holland Style Cinnamon Original Maple Syrup Waffles
Company Brand Category Sub-Category Country Country of Manufacture Import Status Store Name Store Type Launch Type Price in US Dollars
Mage's Foods Mage's Bakery Sweet Biscuits/Cookies China China Not Imported Carrefour Hypermarket New Variety/Range Extension $1.65

Mage`s He Lan Feng Wei Rou Gui Yuan Wei Feng Tang Hua Fu (Holland Style Cinnamon Original Maple Syrup Waffle) is processed according to European facility and technique. The waffle is free from trans fat and said to be aromatic, crispy and sweet.

Maple Syrup Potato Wedges
Company Brand Category Sub-Category Country Country of Manufacture Import Status Store Name Store Type Launch Type Price in US Dollars
Henan Synear Food Holding Synear Side Dishes Potato Products China China Not Imported N/A N/A New Product $1.02

Synear Feng Tang Shu Jiao (Maple Syrup Potato Wedges) are made with maple syrup from Canada. The wedges are said to be aromatic inside and crispy on the outside. This product retails in a 300g pack.

Maple Syrup Pie
Company Brand Category Sub-Category Country Country of Manufacture Import Status Store Name Store Type Launch Type Price in US Dollars
Taiwan Yougood Food Bouno Bakery Cakes, Pastries & Sweet Goods China Taiwan Not Imported N/A N/A New Product N/A

Buono Nai You Feng Ye Pai (Maple Syrup Pie) is suitable for lacto vegetarians and contains quality butter. This product retails in a 72g pack.


With a population of 1.35 billion and growing, China continues to be import dependant on several sectors of food and food products and the sugar and sweetners sector is no exception. With its growing middle class and increased awareness towards health and wellness, the future looks more than bright for maple products in China.

For more information

International Trade Commissioners can provide Canadian industry with on-the-ground expertise regarding market potential, current conditions and local business contacts, and are an excellent point of contact for export advice.

For additional intelligence on this and other markets, the complete library of Global Analysis reports can be found on the International Market Intelligence page.

For additional information on Food and Hospitality China (FHC) 2017 please contact:

Ben Berry, Deputy Director
Trade Show Strategy and Delivery
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada


Sector Trend Analysis - Bakery products in China
Global Analysis Report

Prepared by: Hadi el Zein, Market Analyst (Co-op Student)

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