Brent Carlson-Lee 

It appears spring has sprung. Time to dust off the Weber®, bicycles and the maple syrup tapping kit (maple sap runs best this time of year given its cool nights and warm days).

As the primary grocery shopper in our household, I long ago bought into the notion that high fructose corn syrup is not a good thing. As a result, I pay prices for real maple syrup that make me wince. I wince even more as I watch my four year old pour “just a little more” (i.e. a lot more) on his pancakes. So when I saw this jug, I thought I may have found a more economical alternative.

syrup jug

It’s in one of those maple syrup jugs. It’s all natural. It contains no high fructose corn syrup. Yet it costs 50% less than the straight-from-the-forest-to-your-table-with-love varieties. But let’s take a closer look.

The jug looks legit. Right shape albeit plastic.

It is all natural, although I think we can all agree that doesn’t mean much.

It contains no high fructose corn syrup, but it’s replaced primarily with brown rice syrup.

And what about the product name? When I first saw the jug I thought it read “maple syrup.” Turns out it reads “table syrup.” I can’t help but to suspect an attempt to put a “head fake” on consumers with the prominent use of “table” which has obvious similarities to “maple,” keeping in mind most people can read this quite easily.

wordsTo be fair, table syrup is a term of art to describe this category; however, the term is not used on the label of any other table syrups in the line. See “Original Syrup” as an example.

log cabinAm I just over analyzing this or does this cross a line into questionable marketing practices? In this case, I think the line has been crossed and others seem to agree. In fact, Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont sent a letter to major retailers voicing concerns. The Agency of Agriculture also contacted the FDA.

But it doesn’t appear that a bright-enough line was crossed. Log Cabin ® All Natural Table Syrup was launched in 2010 and remains on store shelves as pictured above.

Is it shoppers’ responsibility to identify this head fake? I mean James Harden didn’t get fined by the NBA for what he did to Ricky Rubio.