Be My Valentine!

Published online: Feb 14, 2014
Today is Valentine’s Day, and chances are good that Big Candy lobbyists will use the holiday as an excuse to bash U.S. sugar policy on Capitol Hill.
They will claim that current sugar policy has harmed them financially, which is why Congress should outsource domestic production to heavily subsidized foreign producers.
But these same companies have been telling Wall Street a much different story. Here’s a blurb from a recent report promoted by the National Confectioners Association (NCA):
Chocolate dollar sales were up 19% between 2007 and 2012, outpacing non-chocolate sales, which increased 17%, according to Euromonitor. NCA expects the candy category to grow by more than $6 billion in sales in the next five years.
Turns out, NCA has been boasting quite a bit about candy’s sweet success since the current sugar policy took hold in 2008—even as its lobbyists have been busy poor-mouthing on Capitol Hill.
“Not only is confectionery a large product category…it is a high profit category.”
– January 2008
“The retail profit margin is approximately 35% for the confectionery category.”
– May 2009
“Confectionery [is] seen as a recession resistant category.” 
– February 2010
“Despite a shaky economy for the past two and half years, sales continue to increase an average of 3% per year, with a nearly 4% gain this past year.”
– March 2011
“Confectionery retail sales have grown steadily since 2007, increasing from $27.4 billion to $32.1 billion in 2011.”
– May 2012
The truth is, sugar prices are as low today as they were in the 1980s. Sugar policy has come in under Congressional Budget Office estimates. And even the policy’s biggest critic is thriving.