America’s candy makers have touted tremendous financial success under the 2008 Farm Bill, and their words are now being used against them in an advertising campaign unveiled by the American Sugar Alliance.
The first advertisement , which appeared in The Hill newspaper, noted, “Big candy boasts bigger profit margins than oil.”
“Now they’re asking Congress to bankrupt farms and outsource American sugar jobs so they can pocket a few extra pennies a pound,” it continued in reference to multinational candy companies’ efforts to gut no-cost sugar policy in the 2012 Farm Bill.
Confectioners’ 35 percent retail profit margin was featured in the advertisement. That figure, which came from the candy industry’s main trade group, dwarfs the 6.7 percent profit margin that the American Petroleum Institute cites for its industry.
Additional advertisements that will appear soon draw attention to other candy industry statements about profitability and growth under the current sugar policy. One quote from the president of the National Confectioners Association (NCA) goes so far as to claim that it’s Big Candy, not oil, that’s excelling in today’s down economy.
“So many people and so many companies still are entering into this [U.S. candy] business,” NCA President Larry Graham is quoted as saying. “A lot of people think that it’s oil and energy that drives this economy, but it’s candy, it’s chocolate that’s doing well in this economy.”
Dale Murden, a sugar, citrus, grain, vegetable and soybean farmer from Texas, said he hopes the advertisements will shed some light on what’s at stake in the ongoing sugar policy debate.
“Our industry and the 142,000 jobs it supports are literally hanging in the balance of the Farm Bill debate,” he said. “Our opponents might increase their profit margins a fraction, but at what cost? Is it really worth bankrupting farms and costing thousands of sugar workers their jobs?”
Murden, who also serves as chairman of the Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers mill, noted that sugar producers don’t begrudge candy companies for making money, but they do take offense to these companies attacking farmers and poormouthing lawmakers in their lobbying efforts.
He said lawmakers are being led to believe that candy companies are struggling because of sugar policy, when in fact they’ve increased production and revenue under the 2008 Farm Bill.