The American Sugar Alliance submitted the following Letter to the Editor in response to erroneous reporting on the sugar industry and sugar supply in America. WSJ declined to publish the response or fact-check their article.
The Wall Street Journal’s recent story – “Sugar Shortage Threatens Candy Production Ahead of Halloween, Holiday Seasons” (July 22) – invokes a scary image of candy rationing for America’s costumed trick-or-treaters this fall and potentially even worse, the thought of no candy canes hanging on our Christmas trees. The candy makers in your story would have your readers believe that the Grinch is either hardworking sugarbeet and sugarcane farmers or Congressional members who have steadfastly kept the Farm Bill safety net strong for U.S. agricultural production.
American farmers are among the most productive in the world and they meet some of the highest labor and environmental standards around. That productivity translates into more choices and more affordable food products for American households. Despite double-digit food inflation this past year, American households spend less of their disposable income on food than any other industrialized country. And the breadth of food choices available to American consumers is unmatched anywhere in the world.
Sugar production in the U.S. is up, yields are higher, and the supply chain is strong. Candy companies benefit from just-in-time delivery of sugar from American sugar producers. Unlike the uncertain supply chains for other necessary food ingredients or manufacturing inputs, the current sugar program ensures a stable and reliable supply of sugar for our customers, from grocery stores to food companies. Globally, sugar supplies are tight and that might affect food companies overseas, however, within the United States, there is plenty of sugar. This year’s total supply will exceed all demands by more than 3.5 billion pounds of sugar. That mountain of sugar will be available to our customers next year and will add to our ample expected imports and cane and beet production.
Suffice it to say that the market will ensure that there is plenty of sugar around for making as much candy as is needed for Halloween preparation and for all the other holidays this year.
Rob Johansson, PhD, Director of Economics & Policy Analysis for the American Sugar Alliance and former USDA Chief Economist.