Why Maple Syrup Is Controversial, Plus Other Debates in the Food Industry

Food is a topic on which everyone has an opinion. But some foods and food practices are more controversial than others. In some cases, debates go on for years, even decades. Discover some of the biggest controversies in the food industry, ahead.

People are stealing maple syrup

Maple Syrup

Canadians are serious about their maple syrup. | Creighton359/iStock/Getty Images

Maple syrup is a major source of conflict in Canada. “Barrel rollers” sell syrup on the black market while farmers have the government watching their every move in the syrup making process, according to Eater. The Netflix series, Dirty Money, highlights the ongoing controversy.

Hint: Three letters on a bag of food is controversial.


Popcorn with non GMO label

There are mixed messages about GMOs. | Robyn Beck/Getty Images

GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, are a major source of conflict in the food industry. Non-GMO labels are on many items in grocery stores. And brands, such as Chipotle and Trader Joe’s, have stopped selling products containing GMOs, according to Slate. But there are a lot of mixed messages and people may not know as much about GMOs as they think.

Hint: A small company took on a food industry giant, and won.

Just Mayo vs. Big Egg


It was all about the name. | ValentynVolkov/iStock/Getty Images

Just Mayo, a vegan spread, that is in fact not mayonnaise by the government’s definition, came under fire for its label, according to The Washington Post. The largest condiment company in the world, Big Egg, threatened the company with a lawsuit and later dropped it. After a yearlong dispute, Just Mayo can keep the name, “Just Mayo” so long as the label says the product doesn’t contain eggs.

Hint: These two brands are always at war.

Coke vs. Pepsi


Many people are loyal to one brand. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

One of the most divisive questions is “Coke or Pepsi?” An individual will almost always have an answer right away, being loyal to one brand over the other. In the last decade, Coke’s market share has grown more than Pepsi, according to CNN. But in individual categories, Pepsi takes the top spot.

Hint: This ingredient in food is becoming public enemy no. 1.

Gluten-free food


People love to debate about gluten. | Timmary/iStock/Getty Images

More and more people are reaching for gluten-free foods. But there’s an ongoing debate about whether gluten is bad for you. For those who are intolerant to gluten, they have to buy gluten-free products. But for everyone else, abstaining from gluten may not be necessary.

Hint: Where you put this condiment on your plate is controversial.

Ketchup on fries

Plate with fries potato, ketchup and mayonnaise on the table.

Is there a wrong way to eat a fry? | LIgorko/iStock/Getty Images

How you choose to eat french fries is another controversy in the food industry. Covering fries in ketchup is considered by some to be wrong. The more socially acceptable method is to individually dip fries in ketchup that’s on the side of your plate.

Hint: Eating this type of pizza may get you ridiculed.

Deep-dish pizza

Deep Dish Cheese Pizza

Should it be considered pizza? | Bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images

No matter how you like to eat pizza — folded to resemble a taco, or dare we say, with utensils — deep-dish pizza is one type of pie that gets a lot of criticism. “As I have said often…I really like deep dish…just hate that they call it pizza,” Michael Symon, Food Network chef and co-host of ABC’s The Chew, tweeted.

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