The sugar industry plays a massive role in every human’s diet, it’s a staple food and is in almost everything. Sugar comes from 2 main crops; sugar beets and sugar cane, which can be grown, to crate this industry staple. There are around 1.9 billion metric tons of sugar cane grown each year, worldwide. However, Brazil takes the lead and is responsible for around 40% of the sugar crops.
A lot of countries import sugar, including China, Indonesia, and the United States. Whereas, Brazil is at the top of exporting countries, every year. Sugar can be found in almost every food and drink that we consume, you just don’t know it. It’s not a surprise that the sugar industry is so massive and constantly growing.
A big factor as to why it’s used is to help give products their nice and sweet taste. With the sugar industry always growing, there’s no doubt that the value of it is too.
Sugar Industry Statistics and Trends
#1. Americans consume around 11 million tons of sugar every year.
#2. Around 110 countries in the world are producing sugar from beets or canes. Only 8 of these countries are actually producing both of them.
#3. Over the past 40 years, data shows that obesity trends, don’t mirror the data of sugar consumption. As sugar intake goes down, obesity rates are still rising which can be seen to be related to calorie consumption data and figures.
#4. Over 30 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, along with millions of people facing the same diagnosis and issues across the world. This disease is most likely caused by lifestyle and genetic factors and although sugar contributes towards weight gain, it isn’t likely to contribute towards diabetes diagnosis.
#5. 70% of Americans prefer to buy homegrown sugar from a local producer and pay more money for it too.
#6. Sugar prices today are as low as they were 30 years ago. However, despite this being low, the cost of a candy bar has risen by 300%.
#7. Between the years 2001-2018, world sugar consumption rose from 123.454 million tonnes to 172.441 million tonnes. This is the equivalent of an average 2.01% growth.
#8. On the other hand, the second part of the decrease has seen a decrease in sugar consumption to less than 0.84% per annum.
#9. The world sugar trade averages around 64 million tonnes per year, with Brazil being the largest producer and exporter of sugar around the world. It dominates it, accounting for 45% of global exports.
#10. There is a wide range of environmental and social issues when it comes to sugar production and processing. There are many crop growers, processors, and energy and food companies, who are looking for ways to address these concerns that relate to sugar production, biofuel, and sustainability.
#11. The cultivation and processing of sugar production have environmental impacts such as loss of habitats, intensive use of water, heavy use of agrochemicals, and runoff of polluted effluent and air pollution. All of these are having a negative impact on our environment and world, and therefore, something needs to be done to help reduce the bad effects of sugar production, across the world.
#12. Sugar cane is slowly becoming more sustainable in today’s world by using integrated crop management and green harvesting.
#13. There is a large amount of money spent on the advertising of sugary foods and drinks. They in particular target children, with around 11 food adverts being shown every hour. Back in 1997-1998, Coca-Cola spent a massive £31.4 million on advertising alone.
#14. There are over 11,000 family farmers in the United States sugar industry today that are active. Combined, they plant 2 million acres of sugar cane and beets in the 2018 growing season.
#15. Indonesia is the largest net importer of sugar at 5.23 million metric tons per year. Following on from them is Chine with 5.06 million tons and the United States with 2.37 million tons.
#16. There are only 3 states in the United States that produce sugar cane, these are Texas, Florida, and Louisiana.
#17. The root of a sugar beet contains around 18% sugar and therefore, the rest of the sugar beet then becomes food products for livestock or other needs. Producers like to try and use every part of the crop, to generate profits and not make a loss.
#18. In the United States, sugar subsidies have a value of $1.3 billion and this comes directly from taxpayer support.
#19. For the average farm that grows sugar cane, they also plant around 1,000 acres, to help contribute towards the industry.
#20. In the United States, sugar beet farmers have the highest efficiency rates in the world. However, they also have the highest environmental and labor regulations to follow when producing a crop.
#21. As well as food and drink products, sugar can also be found in pharmaceutical and skincare products.
#22. In the pharmaceutical industry, sugar can be used for the preparation of antibiotics and cough syrups, and medicines.
#23. On the other hand, in the skincare industry, sugar can be used for the manufacturing of scrubs and exfoliators.
#24. When compared to sugar substitutes, sugar is more economical and more easily available to all people.
#25. In Mexico, the government directly owns a portion of the countries domestic sugar production. This makes the industry the largest exporter and producer.
#26. The largest publicly-held sugar-using companies have seen an increase in equity of 136% since 2004. This is nearly triple the growth that is found in the S&P index.
#27. In Louisiana, sugar cane growers create an economic impact of $2 billion when raw sugar factories are included in the data.
#28. The sweetest compound known is called “lugduname” and it’s 20,000 times sweeter than sugar.
#29. The average American consumes around 53 gallons of soft drinks, every year.
#30. Americans also eat 10 times more sugar than any other food additive, except for salt.
#31. India is the largest consumer of sugar.
#32. The world sugar trade is regulated by the World Trade Organisation and this organization helps to ensure that business between countries, is conducted fairly.
#33. There is an agreement called the Anti-Dumping Agreement, which is one of the most important agreements governing the sugar trade. The Anti-Dumping Agreement tries to prevent large sugar producers, like the United States and Europe, from dumping their surplus sugar on the world market, at low prices.
#34. The first sugar cane in the United States was planted in Louisiana in 1751.
#35. This was then followed in 1836, where the first sugar beet was planted in Philadelphia, United States.
#36. America’s sugar production supports around 142,000 jobs across 22 states. The job opportunities that sugar production has to include the farmers who plant, harvest, and care for the crops, the truck drivers who move the crops, the employees who work in the mills to process the plants and refineries, all the way to the people who package the sugar and get it to your table. It’s a long process going from planting and growing the sugar beet or sugar cane crop, to then maintaining it and getting it packaged for the shops, ready to buy.
#37. In the United States, they produce around 8.1 million metric tons of sugar, every year.
#38. Out of the 2 options of sugar beets and sugar canes, in the United States, sugar beets account for 55% of the total sugar produced. Whereas, sugar cane accounts for 45% of the sugar produced in the United States.
#39. By the 1840s, Louisiana produced one-quarter of the world’s sugar supply. It was in 1795 when Étienne de Boré introduced sugar refining to Louisiana. This is when the sugarcane production expanded massively, but the sugar was grown on plantations using slave labor.
#40. In the 19th century, sugar refining was controlled by the American Sugar Refining Company, in the United States. The federal government tried to take action against the company, but this was blocked by the Supreme Court in the United States, in 1895.
#41. The United States Department of Agriculture is a program that ensures a price floor for sugarcane and sugar beet producers. This limits the amount of sugar that can be produced, which it does by using a few different methods. Some of these methods include loans to sugar producers, for price support, limits on the amount each producer can sell, import quota on foreign-made sugar, and a program that converts excess sugar, to ethanol fuel. This is used when other tools are not effective.
#42. With more people becoming more conscious of what they’re eating, the diet and lifestyle they have, and health issues, we can start to see a decline in the need and consumption of sugar. Although we will always use sugar in foods and drinks, there is no longer such a huge demand, that there was years ago.
#43. Going back to the history of sugar, it was first introduced in the West, as a spice and not as a sweetener. It was known to be a spice due to it being used in ginger, cinnamon, saffron, and other spices, that were only available to wealthy elites.
#44. Sugar has been around for over 10,000 years. It’s been consumed by humans since ancient times. It was originally consumed by chewing on sugarcanes and the first records of it being crystalized date back to around 500BC, and this was to make it easier to transport around.
#45. We all know the most common use of sugar is it being used as a sweetener in food and drink products. However, it can also be used as a preservative to protect some foods from spoiling. Not only this, but I can help to preserve the color, texture, and flavor of the food.
#46. The top 5 most successful commodities of annual consumption are cocoa, coffee, wheat, cotton, and sugar.
#47. In the United States, 38 of the foreign suppliers of sugar, are from developing countries.
#48. For the last 15 years, the profit margins for the largest sugar-containing products have been one-third higher, than any other public company in the United States.
#49. Even though growers and refiners produce enough sugar to satisfy the entire domestic American need every year, trade deals have caused the United States to import sugar from over 40 countries.
#50. In the United States, Americans pay around 20% less for their sugar products, than other grocery shoppers in other countries.
#51. Going back 200 years ago, the average American would eat only 2 pounds of sugar, every year.
#52. In 1970, the average American consumed 123 pounds per year. Today, the average American now consumes around 152 pounds of sugar a year. This quals to be around 3 pounds of sugar consumed in a week.
#53. It has been suggested by nutritionists that Americans should get 10% of their calories, from sugar. This would be equal to around 13.3 teaspoons of sugar every day; the current average is 42.5 teaspoons of sugar every day.
#54. Soft drinks are responsible for most of the added sugar in the average American diet. On average, a can of soda has around 11 teaspoons of sugar.
#55. Over the past 15 years, Americans have decreased their daily sugar intake from 21 teaspoons on average, to 16.1 teaspoons. Still, this needs to be cut down to help keep Americans healthy.
#56. The percentage of calories from added sugars in the average American’s diet fell from 18.1% in 2000 to 12.6% in 2016. Again, we are seeing a decline in sugar consumption, but it still averages to be quite high, per person.
#57. The number of growers in Australia in 2019 was 4,050, seeing a loss of 250 family businesses in the country, for that industry.
Although sugar is used in a lot of products, whether that’s to make them sweeter, preserve the flavor, or to be used in skincare and pharmaceuticals, we are starting to see a decline in it over the years.
It is something that will always be needed and will always be sued, however, with more people becoming more conscious of their diets and lifestyles, we are starting to see people trying to cut down on their sugar intake.
Going forward, this is something the sugar industry would need to keep an eye on, as it would be the one major factor for the reasons of decline in sugar consumption. As well as this, to keep up with environmental changes and damage, they need to start thinking about better ways to produce sugar and how it can be more environmentally friendly, for the future of our planet.