It’s not this year’s price crash that haunts the $150 billion sugar industry. It’s the fear of worse to come (food giants are only just beginning to respond to noisy calls from customers, lobby groups and lawmakers to cut empty carbs from products).
Raw sugar’s 16 percent drop ranks it bottom of the 22 raw materials on the Bloomberg Commodity Index. Shocks to demand in top consumer India and prospects of more European supply are helping shift the market to a surplus, hurting prices. Yet beyond such market dampeners, hang darker clouds.
After decades of stable demand growth, almost doubling per person since 1960, the world is heading for a tipping point as shoppers turn against the cola and candy blamed for an obesity epidemic in the rich world. At the same time, sugar has to compete with cheap syrups increasingly used in processed food.
My note: Amusing to see the industry is justifying itself through the total calorie count, but that has also been proven to be a myth as calories are not all equal.