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Candy Costs Continue Climb Despite Sugar Price Stagnation

August 6, 2014
CONTACT: Phillip Hayes

From the International Sweetener Symposium: STOWE, Vt. - Grocery shoppers in the coming year will be asked to pay more for candy despite the fact that sugar prices have remained relatively flat over the past 30 years, according to an American Sugar Alliance (ASA) report released today at the 31st International Sweetener Symposium.

"A Hershey bar cost about 35 cents in 1983, and the biggest ingredient in that bar, sugar, made up about two cents worth of its cost," read the annual Sugar Price Survey. "By 2013, the cost of that same Hershey bar had risen to $1.39, and sugar still just constituted about 2 cents worth of its cost."

Sugar represented roughly four percent of a candy bar's cost in the 80s but today that percentage has fallen to 1 percent, ASA noted. And that percentage could drop further as major manufacturers, Hershey Co. and Mars Chocolate, announced price hikes in July.

"With a setup like this steady price increases for its products and low, stagnant prices for its biggest ingredient it is not surprising that confectioners are outpacing other food makers in the profit department," read the report.

ASA also questioned large candy companies' claims on Capitol Hill that U.S. sugar policy is harming its profit margins, which ASA notes are higher than even major oil companies.

Multinational candy companies have spent millions trying to undercut U.S. sugar policy and make America more dependent on subsidized imports.

"But Congress has rebuffed Big Candy's lobbying efforts on every occasion because U.S. sugar policy works," the report concluded. "Confectioners are very profitable and efficient U.S. farmers have a fighting chance to survive amid a sea of foreign sugar subsidies."


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