Canada’s cane fruit industry is booming, and one of its biggest producers is looking to expand.
Cane fruit, which is grown on sugar cane plantations in British Columbia and Alberta, is a staple in many Canadian cuisines.
But for many, it’s a pricey and sometimes overpriced commodity.
The average Canadian produces just under a ton of cane fruit annually, and the industry is growing at an impressive clip, with the price of a ton falling from about $2.15 in 2012 to $1.15 this year, according to data from the Canada Agriculture Information Centre.
But for those looking to make their own, the bakers say the supply is plentiful.
The demand is there, too, as the industry’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years.
“We’re getting a lot of requests from the consumers,” said Michelle Smith, president and CEO of the Can Canola Basket and the Maple Leaf, a cane product company.
“People are looking for a different way to prepare it.”
Smith says that’s because cane fruit can be made from a variety of different ingredients, including rice, wheat, potatoes, peas, sweet potatoes and corn.
But some producers, like the maple leaf, are looking to move away from a “single-sugar” approach and instead use more complex, less expensive varieties.
She said the Maple Leafs have been trying to develop a cane juice and a cane sugar syrup.
Smith said the maple Leafs are using the Maple Leaves and Canola Maple Sugar Basket to produce a range of products.
“The maple leaf is our main source of cane sugar and we also have the Canola maple sugar basket which is a different type of maple sugar, which we use in our fruit juice,” she said.
Canola bakers have been busy in recent months, and they say their customers are starting to appreciate their products.
“We’re seeing a spike in sales and demand for the products,” Smith said.
Smith has been trying out a new sugar-based cane product, the Canelone Basket, which she says has a very unique taste.
“When we tested the Canela Basket a couple of months ago, we found out it had a really great sweetness, and it had lots of flavours,” she told CBC News.
“It’s really unique to us.”
The Maple Leafs are also getting in on the cane-fruit craze.
They recently released a new maple syrup that has a unique maple flavor and a similar sugar content.
Smith said they’ve been receiving a lot more requests for their cane products.
Smith says she’s working with the maple Leaf to develop her own cane juice, as well as the maple syrup and maple sugarbasket.
“It’s all very unique, it tastes good, it does have a very distinctive flavour,” she added.
Smith is working with Maple Leaf to create her own maple sugar syrup, and she said she’s also looking to grow the maple fruit industry in Canada.
“As an industry we need to grow our industry here in Canada, and this is where I’m going to help grow it,” she continued.
The Canola Fruit Company in Langford, B.C., is looking for the right people to help it expand.
“Canola is one of the fastest growing food crops in Canada,” said Kevin Smith, Canola CEO.
“But we’re looking to diversify and to help diversify the industry in a way that will benefit the whole Canola community.”