Citadelle, from a local co-op to a world-leading maple syrup producer

Citadelle is the world’s largest supplier of 100% pure maple syrup, and it is also 100% co-operative. The co-op was created in the early 1920s at the urge...

Citadelle is the world’s largest supplier of 100 per cent pure maple syrup, and it is also 100 per cent co-operative. The co-op was created in the early 1920s at the urge of Quebec’s agriculture minister, the Honorable Jos.-Edmond Caron, who wanted to address critical problems in the Canadian Maple industry. 

Soon afterwards, 17 local maple producers were selected to form a co-operative and by 1925 the co-op “les Producteurs de Sucre d'Érable de Québec” was created. In 1996, the co-op changed its name to “Citadelle Maple Syrup Producers’ Cooperative”. Now Citadelle is a world leading maple-syrup producer and a multiple award-winner for quality and innovation.  

The biggest challenge for the Canadian co-op was to make maple syrup more than just a breakfast ingredient, innovation being the key to Citadelle’s long-term strategy.

Citadelle will set up its kiosk at the ICA Expo at Co-operatives United in Manchester at the end of October. Martin Plante, Citadelle’s director of sales, said the co-op is seeking to “contribute to the development of co-op to co-op business on a global scale”.

The producer collects sap from over seven million maple trees across Canada, making the most innovative, all-natural-maple-syrup products. Citadelle maple syrup is completely unrefined, retaining the sap's vitamins and nutrients.

Citadelle also opened its first Canadian Maple Delights Bistro in 1999. Now the bistros, along with the Maple Syrup Museums across Quebec attract more than half a million visitors eager to learn about one of Canada’s oldest products and buy organic gifts such as syrups, vinegars, chocolates, waffles, teas, candies, caramel, gelato, sorbet and a variety of gourmet products.

Citadelle producers pride themselves for being “producers of innovation”. In 2012 the co-op received the Grand Prize in the Trends and Innovation category at the 2012 Canadian Agri-food Export Gala, it also received the Golden Maple Leaf Award of excellence from International Maple Syrup Institute in 2009.

The co-operative has remained faithful to the co-op principles and continues to place a strong emphasis on supporting regional or international activities related to maple and honey production. 

In 2008 Citadelle’s pioneering efforts in the industry have been recognised by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, cementing the co-op’s historical significance in Canada. The co-op currently accounts for one third of the maple syrup producers in Quebec.

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