FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 10, 2015
CONTACT: Phillip Hayes, 202-507-8303
WASHINGTON—Critics of U.S. sugar policy who claim U.S. sugar prices are excessive got a dose of reality today. Turns out world average retail sugar prices are 20 percent higher than prices in the United States, according to a new study by SIS International.
The global market research company also found that grocery shoppers in other developed countries paid 29 percent more for sugar in 2014 than U.S. consumers.
“Sugar policy opponents often try to confuse lawmakers by pointing to a thinly-traded dump market for raw sugar to compare U.S. and foreign prices,” explained Jack Roney, an economist with the American Sugar Alliance, which commissioned the study. “But to get an apples-to-apples comparison, you need to look at what consumers are really paying for the refined sugar we actually consume.”
U.S. retail sugar prices averaged 59 cents per pound last year, compared to a global average of 71 cents and a developed country average of 76 cents, SIS International found.
“Clearly, U.S. retail sugar prices are not out of whack with the rest of the world,” Roney said. “Domestic sugar prices are similarly in line with global averages for the wholesale prices that large food companies and grocery stores pay for sugar.”
Earlier this month, the International Sugar Organization examined wholesale sugar prices in 80 countries and found that other developed nations have paid, on average, 41 cents per pound for sugar over the past 10 years. By comparison, the current U.S. price is 34 cents per pound, which is almost identical to current world averages.
“It’s obvious that American consumers and food manufacturers are getting one heck of a good deal,” Roney concluded, “especially when you consider that U.S. sugar policy is projected to cost $0 over the life of the 2014 Farm Bill.”
Sugar policy could come under attack during the appropriations process, and Roney said sugar producers are actively educating lawmakers to rebuff attacks and efforts to re-open the Farm Bill.
The highest retail sugar prices identified by SIS International were found in Hong Kong and averaged $1.33 per pound. The lowest prices, 38 cents per pound, were found in Thailand, a country whose government heavily subsidizes to lower consumer sugar costs.
Other notable prices included Australia at 82 cents per pound (39 percent higher than U.S. prices), Canada at 65 cents (10 percent higher than U.S. prices), Japan at $1.18 per pound (exactly double U.S. prices), and the European Union average of 72 cents (22 percent higher than U.S. prices).