WASHINGTON—U.S. sugar prices are as low today as they were in the 1980s, and confectioners are prospering under the current U.S. sugar policy. That was the message in a new video released today by the American Sugar Alliance (ASA).
Lawmakers need to look no further than a candy bar for proof, ASA said. “In 1983, you could buy a candy bar for 35 cents. In 1983, a candy bar contained two cents worth of sugar. In 1983, farmers received 22 cents for every pound of raw sugar they produced,” the video noted.
“In 2013, that same candy bar costs $1.39 – a 300 percent increase. But it still has just two pennies worth of sugar in it … and raw sugar prices have dropped to 20 cents a pound. That’s nearly a 10 percent price decrease for farmers.”
“It doesn’t take a mathematician to see who is making the money in this equation, but to hear lobbyists for large candy companies tell it, you’d think the exact opposite were true,” ASA said of the ongoing sugar policy debate.
Big Candy has rapidly increased lobbying expenditures during this Farm Bill to gut U.S. sugar policy – the only safety net sugar growers have to cope with depressed prices. And the food lobby’s justification for outsourcing U.S. production to heavily subsidized foreign producers is to lower sugar costs and boost corporate coffers.
“These same companies are telling Wall Street a much different story,” the video explained.
“Since the current sugar policy took hold in 2008, U.S. candy production has increased, company revenues have skyrocketed, and new factories have been built right here in America to keep up with demand.”
Noting a recent study by University of Maryland Professor Alex Triantis that documented the financial health of sugar-using industries, ASA explained, “[Sugar users’] earnings have been supercharged … because sugar prices have plummeted in recent years while grocery shoppers are being charged more for candy, cookies, cakes and other sweet treats.”
Sugar producers are urging Congress to continue U.S. sugar policy, which has operated at no cost to taxpayers for the last decade. The fiscal strength of food processors, they say, is just the latest example of that policy’s success.
ASA released another sugar policy video last month, which can be viewed here.
For more information about the American Sugar Alliance and U.S. sugar policy, visit www.sugaralliance.org