Analysis of U.S. Organic Sugar Imports & Consumption

An analysis of U.S. organic sugar imports and consumption prepared for the American Sugar Alliance by S&P Global Commodity Insights.

PRESS RELEASE: Sugar Policy Supports American Farm Families and Blue-Collar Jobs Says Minnesota Farmer


May 2, 2023

Washington, D.C. – Today, Neil Rockstad, a sugarbeet farmer from Ada, Minnesota, testified before the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade.

On behalf of the American Sugar Alliance, he thanked Chairwoman Tina Smith (D-MN) and Ranking Member Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) for listening to the needs of American producers as they craft the next Farm Bill.

Rockstad highlighted the strengths of the domestic sugar industry and reiterated the concern shared by all Title I commodities that the safety net needs to be updated to reflect the realities and conditions farmers are facing. “The safety net must be increased in this Farm Bill for long term stability to provide secure supplies for American consumers.”

As Senator Smith noted, farmers are “the center of our economy, our food system, and our national security.” This sentiment was echoed by other members of the committee and the farmers testifying. In addition, Rockstad reminded lawmakers that “Sugar was readily available on grocery store shelves throughout the pandemic. That success is attributable to U.S. sugar policy and the heroic efforts of our farmers and factory workers.”

“Many of the jobs and businesses generated and supported by the U.S. sugar industry are in rural areas and urban areas where good blue-collar jobs have become harder and harder to find. As an industry, we are proud to provide high-paying good jobs in our communities,” said Rockstad. “In my home state of Minnesota, the sugarbeet industry provides almost 21,000 jobs and has a $3.06 billion economic impact.” Sugarbeet farmers are proud to be a part of the $16 billion in value for Minnesota, which Senator Smith spoke about in her opening remarks.

As the committee considers how to write a Farm Bill that is tailored to meet the needs of American farmers, ranchers, and producers in every part of the country, Rockstad urged lawmakers to support the 11,000 American sugarbeet and sugarcane family farmers and the employees in our mills, processors, and refineries.

It bears repeating that “effective sugar policy, which maintains a strong domestic industry, is essential to the food security of our nation.”

Read Neil Rockstad’s full testimony.

Neil Rockstad Testimony Before the Senate Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade

Neil Rockstad, Vice President for the American Sugarbeet Growers Association, testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade in May 2023 on the need for sound U.S. sugar policy.

PRESS RELEASE: Sugar Farmers Urge Members of Congress to Support American Farmers and Workers for Food Security  


April 26, 2023 

Washington, D.C. – Today, Patrick Frischhertz, a sugarcane grower from Plaquemine, Louisiana testified before the House Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities, Risk Management, and Credit. He thanked Chairman Austin Scott (R-GA-8) and Ranking Member Shontel Brown (D-OH-11) for listening to the needs of American producers as they craft the next Farm Bill.  

On behalf of the American Sugar Alliance, Frischhertz called on lawmakers to ensure “Title I sugar policy…provide[s] an adequate economic safety net for American sugarcane and sugarbeet farmers.” Without sugar policy, “we would effectively outsource our sugar supply to heavily-subsidized and unreliable foreign sugar suppliers whose environmental and labor standards simply do not measure up to our own. That would be the opposite of strengthening supply chains and contrary to providing a safety net to American producers. Under that scenario, farmers, consumers, and taxpayers would all lose.” 

He reminded the subcommittee of the vital role sugar producers play in the nation’s food supply by ensuring American consumers have “a safe, high-quality, reliable, sustainably produced and affordable supply of an essential ingredient.” He also underscored the effectiveness of U.S. sugar policy that serves Americans at “no cost to the U.S. Treasury.”  

Frischhertz spoke on the challenges sugar producers face from high input costs, tight margins, and crop and weather disruptions. He urged the members to examine “how the farm safety net could be updated in the next Farm Bill for all Title I commodities to better match actual operating costs for producers,” and gave sugar producers’ support for the subcommittee’s interest in developing additional risk management programs to complement crop insurance. “We are certainly receptive to new efforts to provide standing disaster coverage in ways that do not undermine crop insurance and possibly even encourage greater participation and coverage levels.” 

As this subcommittee considers how to write a Farm Bill that meets the needs of our producers and the American people, Frischhertz urged lawmakers to support the 11,000 American sugarcane and sugarbeet family farmers and the employees in our mills, processors, and refineries. 

It bears repeating that “effective sugar policy, which maintains a strong domestic industry, is essential to the food security of our nation.” 

Read Patrick Frischhertz’s full testimony.

Sales and Costs of Confectionery Industries in North America

  • North America confectionery sales increased from just over $26 billion in 2008 to a record $37.8 billion in 2019.
  • The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of total North America confectionery product sales for that period was 3.4%.
  • The US accounted for more than 75% of North America confectionery sales in 2019, followed by Mexico with about 15% and Canada about 10%.
  • Although sugar prices increased from the previous study, increases in other operational costs were much higher especially for labor and employer paid health care.

Please click here for the report. 

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University of Tennessee Study on Profitability of Sugar-Using Firms

A  study by the University of Tennessee find that over the past 10 years, candy corporations have posted high profits and a nearly double the return on investment compared to an average publicly traded U.S. firm. The high profitability and low volatility of the industry can be attributed, in part, to U.S. sugar policy, which provides a reliable supply of domestically produced sugar and the flexibility to ensure that supply always meets demand.   

The Economic Impact of the U.S. Sugar Industry

America’s sugar farming families and workers support more than 151,000 jobs across more than two dozen states and contribute more than $23 billion to the economy each year, according to a study from the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University.

Dr. Rob Johansson Testimony Before the House Committee on Agriculture

Dr. Rob Johansson, Director of Economics and Policy Analysis at the American Sugar Alliance (ASA), testified before the House Committee on Agriculture in March 2022 on the importance of supporting America’s sugar farmers, producers, and sugar supply chain by maintaining a strong U.S. sugar policy in the 2023 Farm Bill.

Univ. of Tennessee Study Rejects Candy Lobby’s Long-Held Accusations

WASHINGTON – Researchers from the University of Tennessee released a study today that sheds new light on how sugar prices affect sweetened product prices, and their findings stand in sharp contrast to decades-old claims made by candy company lobbyists.

Drs. Karen DeLong and Carlos Trejo-Pech, of the university’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, found that the retail cost of sweetened products, such as candy and baked goods, is not affected by the price that the food manufacturers pay for sugar. In fact, the researchers noted that sugar generally accounts for less than 2.6 percent of sweetened product prices.

“Sugar prices do not impact how food companies price their sweetened products in any statistically significant way, which ultimately reaffirms the fact that U.S. sugar policy does not harm sugar-using firms,” the authors concluded.

U.S. sugar policy involves loans that are repaid with interest instead of subsidy checks, which enable producers to store large amounts of sugar that can be delivered to customers when needed. The system operates without taxpayer cost.

“This study shows that there is little-to-no correlation between changes in sugar prices and the prices that grocery shoppers ultimately pay for sweet treats,” explained Rob Johansson, director of economics and policy analysis for the American Sugar Alliance, which commissioned the work.

“In other words, gutting U.S. sugar policy and outsourcing America’s sugar supply to subsidized companies abroad won’t yield positive results for U.S. consumers or food makers,” said Johansson, who previously served as chief economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “It will only harm American farmers and workers.”

This study is the second conducted by the University of Tennessee about U.S. sugar policy and prices. The first, an independent peer-reviewed piece that was published June 2020 in Agricultural and Food Economics, found that U.S. sugar prices did not harm the financial performance of food manufacturers.

Drs. Karen DeLong and Carlos Trejo-Pech are scheduled to present their findings at the 2022 Southern Agricultural Economics Association meeting.

The Resiliency of America’s Sugar Supply Chain

America’s sugar supply chain proved resilient in the face of immense challenges in 2019 and 2020, in large part due to the stability provided by U.S. farm and trade policies, the American Sugar Alliance stated in a report submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Russia’s Sugar Industry: Transformation with Government Intervention

The report, authored by Patrick H. Chatenay and Sergey Gudoshnikov, not only details how Russia engineered a sudden shift in sugar production, transforming from one of the world’s biggest sugar importers to a net exporter of sugar, but also why the government sought to regenerate its domestic sugar industry.

Charts and Graphs

Download charts and graphs on the economics of the global sugar market.

Country-by-Country Sugar Subsidy Developments

Compiled by ASA staff using USDA’s Global Agricultural Information Network reports.

The European Union Sugar Industry at World Market Prices

After more than half a century as a highly regulated sugar policy, with minimum prices and domestic sales’ quotas, the European Union’s Sugar Regime was liberalized from October 1, 2017. From then on, producers would freely decide how much to supply, a large amount of duty-free imports were available and prices were to be determined by supply and demand. “Market forces” would rule. Click here for the full report.

An Examination of Foreign Subsidies and Trade Policies For Sugar

The International Center for Agricultural Competitiveness (ICAC) at Texas Tech hosts and maintains a database of subsidies and trade policy information for public use. The report summarizes the information obtained and housed in the database relating to sugar in key producing, consuming, exporting, and importing countries. Click here for the full report.

The Myth of High U.S. Sugar Prices

Do American consumers pay triple the world price for sugar? No.

Indian sugar policy: Government role in production expansion, and transition from importer to exporter

Prepared by Antoine Meriot, Sugar Expertise LLC, for the American Sugar Alliance (ASA.)

Analysis of the Coalition for Sugar Reform Amendments to U.S. Sugar Policy: Potential Effect on Policy and Industry

Dr. Joe Outlaw and Dr. James Richardson, co-directors of Texas A&M’s Agricultural and Food Policy Center.

Economic Effects of U.S. Sugar Policy

Professor Alexander J. Triantis Dean, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland

Domestic and International Sugar Prices: Differences, Links, Indications of Import Protection and Export Support

A report for the American Sugar Alliance by Patrick H. Chatenay, President, ProSunergy (UK) Ltd.

Government Support and the Brazilian Sugar Industry

by Patrick H. Chatenay of ProSunergy (UK) Ltd

Commentary on 2006 U.S. Department of Commerce Report

by Professor Alexander J. Triantis

The Confectionary Industries in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico: Trends in Structure, Domestic Production and Use, Trade and Cost Comparisons

Buzzanell and Associates, Inc.