FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Phillip Hayes
July 11, 2012 202-507-8303
Americans Doubt Anti-Sugar Lobby’s Spin
WASHINGTON—As Congress considers the fate of current no-cost sugar policy in the ongoing Farm Bill debate, a new survey released today shows that the American public doesn’t believe big food manufacturers’ arguments that policy changes would benefit grocery shoppers.
By more than a three-to-one margin, Americans say they think food manufacturers would pocket the savings from lower sugar prices to boost corporate profits rather than lowering food costs, found the survey, which was conducted online on behalf of the American Sugar Alliance (ASA) by Harris InteractiveÒ between June 29 and July 3 among 2,088 U.S. adults (age 18+).
History has shown that they are right, said Jack Roney, an economist with ASA. The price sugar producers receive has fallen 24 percent since the summer of 2010, yet the price grocery shoppers pay for sugar and food products haven’t fallen as grocers and food companies pocket the savings.
And shoppers have noticed. According to the survey, nearly 70 percent of Americans said they’ve seen an increase in retail sugar prices since the summer of 2010, and 81 percent said the price of food and candy have climbed over that same period.
“The issues of sugar prices and grocery shopper benefit are at the heart of the sugar policy debate,” Roney explained, “and these results will tell lawmakers a lot.”
The lopsided findings are even more surprising, he said, because the survey also showed that Americans believe sugar is much costlier than it actually is and think it makes up a much larger percentage of a food product’s cost than it really does.
When asked how much a pound of sugar costs, the average answer was $4.80, and more than half of Americans believe sugar costs more than $2 a pound. Food manufacturers paid less than 45 cents for a pound of sugar in June, according to government data.
Americans, on average, also said they believed there was 22 cents worth of sugar in a $1 candy bar, whereas a candy bar only contains 2 cents of sugar, Roney noted.
Other findings from the study that ASA points to as significant to the legislative debate include:
Harris Interactive conducted the online survey on behalf of the ASA between June 29 and July 3, 2012 among 2,088 U.S. adults 18 years of age or older. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in more than 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us—and our clients—stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.
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