From the International Sweetener Symposium:
STOWE, Vt. — As most industries limped through the recent economic meltdown, one thrived, according to an issue brief, “Confectioners’ Sweet Recession ,” released today by the American Sugar Alliance (ASA).
Stories of job creation, facility expansion, production increases, and record sales have been commonplace among candy makers since 2008, according to the report, which was published at the 28th International Sweetener Symposium. “And it should continue if analysts’ predictions hold true.”
However, lawmakers aren’t hearing the good news.
“In fact, when [the National Confectioners Association] NCA and other candy industry lobbyists visit Capitol Hill, they spin a much different story—one of job loss and struggling company revenues because of sugar policy, which operates at no cost to taxpayers,” read the issue brief.
The fact that U.S. government data show candy production increasing nearly 9 percent since 2004, and 2.5 percent since the recession started in 2008, is just one of the positive developments not being shared with Congress, the ASA found.
This was confirmed by NCA’s president, who the issue brief quoted saying, “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.” That’s a far cry from sugar policy being a “financial burden,” as he’s told lawmakers.
NCA and other food manufacturers unsuccessfully lobbied in the last Farm Bill to increase taxpayers’ financial burden by replacing the no-cost policy with a $1.3 billion per year subsidy check program. “Now, they are simply asking to eliminate any policy, at the risk of ending U.S. sugar production and leaving the United States dependent on foreign suppliers,” read the report.
This too seems destined to fail, according to the ASA. After all, even sugar policy’s biggest critics are profiting and growing under the current system, which stands alone as the sole farm policy to operate without cost to the government.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” ASA chairman Jack Pettus said at the Symposium. “Farmers, confectioners, and taxpayers all seem to be thriving under America’s no-cost success story.”