FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 3, 2015
CONTACT: Phillip Hayes, 202-271-5734 (cell)
From the International Sweetener Symposium:
SANTA ANA PUEBLO, N.M.—Jack Roney, an economist with the American Sugar Alliance, says times are sweet for the candy industry right now. In remarks today at the 32nd International Sweetener Symposium, Roney explained that while jobs in other food manufacturing sectors have declined, employment has risen for companies that produce sugar containing products, or SCPs.
“According to Census data, the rise has been particularly prevalent in the confectionary business, which added jobs between 2008 to 2012, a period that was marked by the Great Recession and saw most other areas of the U.S. economy shedding workers,” he said. “And the growth doesn’t appear to have slowed, as there are dozens of examples of candy companies opening new factories and currently expanding here in America.”
Similarly, Roney pointed out that stock prices for the biggest SCP companies were soaring, up 300 percent between 2000 and 2012 – a period that saw a flat S&P 500 index.
Roney explained to conference attendees that at least part of this success story could be attributed to U.S. sugar prices, which have remained relatively flat and have not kept pace with inflation.
“If you correct for inflation, food manufacturers are paying 36 percent less for sugar today than they did three decades ago,” he said. “Meanwhile the cost to produce that sugar – things like labor, healthcare, fuel, and farm inputs – has spiked, placing pressure on farmers, processors, and refiners.”
Roney noted that over the same three decades, more than half of all U.S. cane and beet factories have closed as a result, and that more than 100,000 sugar related jobs have been lost since 1994.
“The key to saving what is left,” he concluded, “is to maintain a strong U.S. sugar policy and ensure the U.S. market is not further eroded by subsidized foreign industries in trade deals.”
Sugar policy, which is projected to cost taxpayers $0 over the life of the 2014 Farm Bill, recently came under attack by the candy lobby during the appropriations process. Anti-sugar amendments to funding bills at the committee level were withdrawn, but Roney believes similar attacks will need to be beaten back in the future.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Trade Representatives office has pledged not to undermine U.S. sugar policy in negotiation of the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations.
For more information, visit www.sugaralliance.org
Symposium audio files can be downloaded at www.ASAradio.org