The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

The Maple Guild® Invents a Vegan Steam-Crafting® Process

Posted on August 22, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

Maple guild

By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS

The Maple Guild of Island Pond, VT has developed a steam-crafting process to transform maple sap into syrup making 55 gallons of syrup in less than three minutes. Find out more here:

Unlike traditional maple syrup production which involves boiling sap at high, direct heat for a long period yielding a dark, caramel-tasting syrup, the steam-crafting process uses indirect heat and less energy converting sap to syrup more quickly and producing a syrup that is lighter in both color and taste.

The Maple Guild also innovates a host of food and beverage products including infused syrups, maple water, maple-sweetened iced teas, maple vinegar, and maple cream.

Different from some maple companies which purchase syrup from multiple small producers combining it into one large batch and selling it under their own label, The Maple Guild produces all of its maple syrup from start to finish on its own property. As the company states on its website: “We can even tell you what tree your syrup came from.”

The Vegetarian Resource Group asked The Maple Guild if their steam-crafting method involves an anti-foaming agent (also called a defoamer). Artisanal maple syrup producers traditionally used pig-derived lard although it is not too common today. Butter, milk or cream were also used in the past but are not typically used today.

The Maple Guild’s John Campbell, VP of Sales and Marketing, responded to us by email in June 2017 when we asked if they use an anti-foaming agent:
“We do not use any animal-derived anti-foaming agents. In fact we simply use the permeate that remains as we process sap into syrup as our anti-foaming agent . . . so it is all sap all the time!”

The VRG followed up with John by asking him to further explain what “permeate” is. He replied:
“As sap is processed into syrup utilizing our steam-crafting process, the water that is left over is known as permeate. We use this separated permeate water as our anti-foaming agent. Waste not!”

For more information on The Maple Guild see:

Common Defoamers in Maple Syrup Production
Today on a commercial scale, a plant-based product is most often used as a maple syrup defoamer.

Some farmers operate their own farms and sell only what they produce while other operations purchase syrup from small producers and resell. The VRG asked both types of businesses about their defoamers. Here is what we learned.

• Arnold Coombs of Coombs Family Farms® told us “We use an organic sunflower oil as a defoamer.”

• Ray Lewis of Square Deal Farms® stated that “We use organic, GMO-free canola oil.”

• We asked Highland Sugar Works® owned by L.B. Maple Treat® if they accept maple syrup defoamed by lard from any producers. They responded with: “No. We do not accept any maple syrup from any producers that use animal products as anti-foaming agents.”

When we followed up by asking: “Is Atmos® 300K (see below) permissible as a defoamer?” we learned “Yes, that is what everyone uses.”

• We also asked Leader Evaporator Company® about defoamers and received a reply from Nola Gilbert who stated:
“We sell the Atmos 300K Defoamer. The Atmos is not approved for organic producers. Most organic producers use organic sunflower or organic safflower oil as a defoamer. There may be producers who still use lard, butter, milk or cream as defoamers, but most of the industry has moved towards commercially-produced defoaming agents or organic oil.”

Nola suggested that we contact Maple Specialists at the University of Vermont for more information about this topic.

Here is what we learned from UVM Maple Specialist Extension Agent George Cook in July 2017:
“No animal-based defoamers are recommended. All recommended defoamers are vegetable oil-based. Organic producers do not use Atmos. They use organic safflower oil. Years ago, animal fat products were used…milk, cream, butter, etc. We do not recommend these today.”

Atmos 300K
Available commercially, Atmos 300K is an anti-foaming agent commonly used by many maple syrup producers. For example:
Sam Bascom of Bascom Maple Farms® told us that he uses Atmos® 300K:

Sam sent us the MSDS sheet on Atmos 300K but he did not know if Atmos 300K’s mono- and diglycerides were vegetable-derived or not so we searched further.

The VRG contacted Vantage Specialty Ingredients®, a distributor of Atmos 300K, to find out if the mono- and diglycerides in their formula are vegetable-derived. Robert Dowd of Vantage Specialty Ingredients sent us a Product Source Statement dated September 2016 about Atmos 300K from the manufacturer Corbion Caravan® (see page 15 for listing

“Please be informed that the above-referenced product, manufactured by Corbion Caravan, is a mono- and diglyceride prepared from hydrogenated edible vegetable oils sourced from tall, palm and/or palm kernel.”

We followed up with Robert asking about the source of the tall oil which is listed in the Product Source Statement. Here is our question and his response:
Q: The Statement mentions tall oil as a mono- and diglyceride source. Tall oil is a byproduct of paper production. Is this what Corbion Caravan uses as its source? Or some other source?
A: Yes it is. It is the oil from trees.

For more information on tall oil:

Petrochemical-based propylene glycol is also an ingredient in Atmos 300K.

The contents of this posting, our website and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgement about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

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For information on other ingredients, see:

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