U.S. Sugar More Affordable than World Average

Published online: Jun 04, 2012
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WASHINGTON-As the Senate prepares to vote on the 2012 Farm Bill, a new study showing consumer-friendly sugar prices in the United States provides lawmakers with yet another reason to extend the country's no-cost sugar policy.

The study, which was conducted by SIS International Research and released today, shows that grocery shoppers in the rest of the world pay, on average, 14 percent more for sugar than American consumers.  And shoppers in other developed countries are forking over 24 percent more for sugar at thecheckout line, the study found. "Considering sugaris so inexpensive in the U.S. that restaurants and coffee shops give it away for free, these findings shouldn't shock anyone," noted Kelly Erickson, a Minnesota sugar farmer who currently serves as the president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association. 

However, candy companies have launched an expensive lobbying campaign in an attempt to paint a much different story and tell lawmakers that U.S. sugar policy makes pricesexpensive. "It seems a bit disingenuous since these same candy companies have increased domestic production and posted healthy profits under the current sugar policy," American Sugar Cane League Executive Director Jim Simon said.  "Not to mention, the price these companies pay for sugar has actually fallen by 20 percent since the summer of 2010." Opponents of sugar policy have pointed to Canada as a model for how the U.S. sugar market should operate. 

But according to the new sugar price study, Canadians pay 65 cents per pound for sugar, which is 10 percent more than their American counterparts.  Mexican shoppers are paying a similar 66 cents per pound.  "When you add low retail sugar prices to the other attributes of U.S. sugar policy-such as, it is operating at no taxpayer cost, supporting 142,000 U.S. jobs, and ensuring stable domestic supplies at a time of global sugar shortages-it is easy to see why sugar policy is so popular on Capitol Hill," Erickson concluded.

Sugar producers are urging lawmakers to oppose any anti-sugar amendments to the Farm Bill. A country-by-country look at retail sugar prices can be found in the chart below.

For more information about the American Sugar Alliance and U.S. sugar policy, visit