The Sugar Beat
The name may sound Main Street, but the $50+ million business and marketing might behind the brand (now owned by 1-800 Flowers) is a lot closer to Wall Street.
Not long ago, Cheryl’s weighed in on sugar policy, claiming U.S. sugar prices hurt mom-and-pop cookie makers. So we weighed Cheryl’s cookies to see exactly how much sugar was in those sweet treats.
While sugar made up a lot of the product’s weight—almost 50 percent—it turns out sugar was a slim part of the product’s price.
The $40 “classic gift tower” we purchased had a whopping 48 cents worth of sugar in it. That’s right, even if the company got its sugar for free and passed along all the savings (something history has proven doesn’t happen), then consumers wouldn’t even save a buck on such a big purchase.
And at 1.2 percent of the product’s cost, it’s pretty hard to believe claims that sugar prices are really harming profit margins on Cheryl’s cookies. Especially given the company’s rags-to-riches story.
Cheryl’s grew from a single Ohio cookie store in the ‘80s into the household name it is today. Of course, while that store grew, the opposite was happening to sugar businesses.
Plagued with escalating operating costs, and prices that remained stagnant from 1985-2008, more than half of all U.S. sugar plants closed their doors, 54 in all, leaving more than 100,000 people without work. And unfortunately for Cheryl's home state, Ohio, the entire sugarbeet industry was lost because of continued low prices.
So, while sugar producers are happy that their customers are doing well, we do take exception to misplaced poormouthing on Capitol Hill.
After all, if sugar prices truly were such a profit-making roadblock, why does the sugar-free version of the $40 “classic gift tower” cost $50?
Audio & Video