Thanks to its natural sweetness and lower glycemic index than more traditional sweeteners, agave has grown in popularity among health-conscious consumers with a sweet tooth. There’s a variety of agave products available on the market, though, and differentiating them can prove challenging. One such example would be agave nectar vs agave syrup, and in this article we’ll be going over what the difference is between the two.
As it turns out, the difference between agave nectar vs agave syrup is the name. They’re both the same product, but “nectar” refers to the natural sugar within a plant, whereas “syrup” is the byproduct of processing. Seeing as how agave nectar is processed, it is technically a syrup.
Let’s dig into these details a little further.
The Difference Between Nectar And Syrup
The most confusing aspect of differentiating agave nectar vs agave syrup is the name. “Nectars” and “syrups” sound the same, but they are technically different things.
Wikipedia defines a nectar as “a sugar-rich liquid produced by plants”.
Therefore, a product labeled as “agave nectar” suggests that it consists of the sugar found in the leaves of agave plants.
In this case, it is technically an accurate description because the nectar of the agave plant is indeed the only ingredient used. However, it is then processed, which means it’s really a syrup rather than a literal “nectar”.
Now let’s have a look at what constitutes a “syrup”.
According to Wikipedia, a syrup is defined as a thick, viscous liquid that is comprised of sugar that has been dissolved in water.
This means that syrups are processed foods, as opposed to nectars, which are natural liquids produced by plants.
Nectars can be used to make syrups as they are sugar after all, but the two should not be confused with each other.
Agave Nectar VS Agave Syrup
So now that we’ve gone over the difference between a nectar and a syrup, let’s apply this to the agave plant.
As I’m sure you’re well aware, there’s countless agave products on the market that label themselves as both “agave nectar” and “agave syrup”. However, they are essentially one-in-the-same as they are produced the same way.
The agave nectar/syrup you see bottled on store shelves is made by concentrating the plant’s nectar into a highly-refined syrup. That syrup is then pasteurized.
Although made from the nectar of the agave plant, the correct terminology would be “agave syrup”, seeing as how it is refined and processed.
This begs the question– why would a product be labeled as a nectar when it is really a syrup?
In all likelihood, it’s probably just marketing terminology. True agave nectar would come directly from the plant, without processing. As far as we’re aware, no such product exists.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully this article has cleared up any confusion you’ve experienced trying to differentiate agave nectar vs agave syrup. Although they sound like different products, there’s virtually no difference between them. So the next time you find yourself agonizing of which bottle to grab off of the store shelf, you can rest assured knowing they are one-in-the-same.