Historically, the system for grading maple syrup has been different in the United States than it is in Canada, which has resulted in consumer confusion. Figuring out one grading system is frustrating enough, but two is downright difficult. The International Maple Syrup Institute has developed a new international grading system that will make things much simpler for consumers, and it is set to go into effect this year.
Currently, the United States has two maple syrup grades, Grade A and Grade B. Grade A further breaks down into three sub-grades: Light Amber, Medium Amber, and Dark Amber. Canada’s grading system is based on a number scale. Canada #1 includes Extra Light (also known as AA), Light (A), and Medium (B). Canada #2 is Amber, which is also known as C, and finally, #3 is known as Dark, or D. Because the three Canada #1 grades are basically identical to the three sub-grades of the U.S. Grade A syrups, it makes sense to create one grading system that would eliminate worldwide confusion. So, how is maple syrup graded according to the new standards? Instead of multiple grades and numbers, there will just be one grade for consumers: Grade A. There will also be a Processing Grade maple syrup that will be available for use in food products but not for retail sale. Grade A maple syrup will be divided into four color classes: Golden, Amber, Dark, and Very Dark. On top of making maple syrup grades easier to decipher, one of the biggest reasons for changing the grading standard is to eliminate the discrimination of Grade B maple syrup. By selling it under Grade A Very Dark, people will be more apt to purchase it. As a result, the industry can raise the price and equalize the cost of all grades.
Whatever your maple syrup flavor preferences, you will still be able to find exactly what you love once the grades change.