Lawrence T. Graham, president of the National Confectioners Association (NCA) said sugar industry reform is needed to keep the American confectionery industry competitive.
“The NCA is concerned about the sugar program, which comes up for a vote this week,” he said in a Tuesday interview with ConfectioneryNews “We’re deeply concerned about the pricing pressure that the sugar program puts on his members. The roller-coaster pricing is frustrating.”
Graham pointed out that confectionery companies pay a premium for their sugar supply compared to other buyers. The pricing penalty is causing some confectionery companies to weigh shifting from domestic candy production to overseas where sugar supplies do not face such constraints.
The effort to reform sugar pricing in the US hit a snag Wednesday evening when an amendment to the Senate Farm Bill aimed to bring about sugar reform was voted down 54-45. The amendment would have helped smooth out the tangles in sugar pricing stratification, quotas and other confusing and uneven areas that frustrate NCA members.
Sugar reform has faced powerful opposition from a number of directions. Lobbyists representing the significant number of cane sugar producers in Louisiana and beet-sugar companies in Midwestern states have vocally opposed reform measures, joined by Tea Party leader Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and other pro-sugar legislators.
The fight ahead
The battle in the US legislature over sugar probably is not over for good. The issue has been put up for Congressional vote before—most recently last year, when it was defeated by 53-46. However, manufacturing groups like the NCA and politicians like Sugar Reform Act architect Sen. Patrick Toomey (a Republican from Hershey’s home state of Pennsylvania) aren’t likely to stay away from the fight.
For more information about the NCA’s position on sugar reform and efforts to drum up support, visit the website sugarreform.org.