The Big Candy lobby and others who want to outsource U.S. sugar production and U.S. sugar jobs have said that U.S. sugar policy threatens food-manufacturing jobs.
Sugar critics base this talking point on a decade-old paper that used old press reports as its source. But are candy jobs really disappearing?
Jobs in the confectionery industry have actually increased since current U.S. sugar policy took hold in 2008, according to recently released U.S. Census data.
|2007 Census||2012 Census|
|Non-chocolate confectionery manufacturing||18,200 jobs||19,141 jobs|
|Confectionery manufacturing from purchased chocolate||30,051 jobs||30,805 jobs|
|Chocolate and confectionery manufacturing from cacao beans||7,746 jobs||6,345 jobs|
|Total||55,997 jobs||56,291 jobs|
This is significant for two reasons. First, the job growth occurred while the rest of the economy was contracting and suffering from the biggest downturn since the Great Depression. That’s why candy makers are called “recession proof.”
Second, the candy category of food manufacturing jobs would be the one most affected by sugar policy, since sugar is its primary ingredient. It speaks volumes that jobs grew in the segment that would be most sensitive to sugar prices.
Job growth and expansions in the candy business have been so prevalent since 2012 – the last year Census data were available – that the American Sugar Alliance has dedicated a web page to tracking all the good news.
Here are the most recent of the more than 100 entries:
- “Ghirardelli Chocolate Co. will open a new Chicago location this weekend, unveiling a 7,000-square-foot space in the historic Wrigley Building… The San Francisco chocolatier hired more than 100 employees for the new store.”
Chicago Tribune, 6-26-15
“Candy giant Mars adding 175 jobs in Georgia, ramping up production.”
Atlanta Business Chronicle, 6-24-15
“Piedmont Candy marks 125 years by expanding to Duracell building.”
The Dispatch, 6-23-15
“Bimbo Bakeries USA is expanding its operation in Orangeburg [S.C.] and will add 30 jobs… The company said Tuesday it is investing more than $9 million in its plant and will add the jobs during the next five years.”
Associated Press, 6-10-15
“The rows and rows of homemade chocolates nestled behind glass cases at Schimpff’s Confectionery soon will double. The 124-year-old candy business is expanding its [Indiana] retail and manufacturing space into the building next door that has been largely unoccupied for two decades.”
News and Tribune, 5-21-15
“This spring, Edward Marc opened a new 50,000-square-foot food production facility on 38th Street in Lawrenceville that eventually could see five production lines turning out 17.5 million pounds of chocolate annually…the company’s sales in 2005 were $179,000. He said they’re projected to hit $25 million this year.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 5-14-15
The bottom line: Big Candy is complaining just for the sake of complaining. U.S. sugar policy is working as Congress intended, and the 2014 Farm Bill should not be re-opened during the Appropriations process to gut it.
Vote no on all anti-sugar amendments during the appropriations process.