Friday, August 21, 2009

What Does a Sugar Shortage Mean for a Corn-Free Diet?

I was watching Colbert Report last night and Mr.Colbert had one of my favorite people on, Marion Nestle (watch the video here). Marion Nestle is this food guru and I highly recommend her book What to Eat. It will make you see grocery shopping in a whole new way. Anyways, Nestle was a guest to discuss this week's sugar crisis. Whaaaaaat? What sugar crisis? Is it true that I'm really getting my news from parody news shows because this was the first I'd heard of this! Colbert put it well when he said, "Oh my God, there’s a sugar shortage. How could this happen? Well, like interstate highways and potable water, it’s the government’s fault".

Well, APPARENTLY, this week was the beginning of a smidge of a sugar shortage, due to Cuba wanting more money for its sugar. Which I mean, seems to make sense to me, since we have been buying it from them for the same price since the 1940s. I can understand how that little increase in price can throw American food manufacturers (and consumers) for a loop. The American Sugar Refining Co., the country's biggest sugar cane refiner, actually has feared that all of its plants would run out of raw sugar in the next two weeks. Nestle said in the interview that "It's a manufactured crisis because the food companies want to have cheap sugar from other countries". That's all well and good, but it still doesn't bode well for those of us who eat the food put out from food companies. And those of us trying to give up corn sweeteners.

This means sugar prices are going up, which probably means at some point, foods with sugar in it will go up in price. Foods with HFCS and other corn sweeteners will gain in popularity. I will be broke and having a harder time finding food to eat. It's apparently time for me to take matters into my own hands.

"Dear Cuba,
I honestly don't know much about you. Not because I don't want to, it's mainly because you won't let me visit. I know you make a mean cigar, and you have a body of water named after pigs. Oh and we get lots of sugar from you. So please let us buy your sugar so I don't go crazy. Thanks! -Jessica"

Thing that will solve the problem? I hope so.


1 comment:

  1. You might also want to write to your senator and ask that the US stop taxing the heck out of imported sugar.

    Oh. But then the sugar-beet farmers in Montana and Colorado wouldn't be protected. Oh well. I guess we'll just pay higher prices for sugar than anyone else does and drink Coke made with corn sweetener instead, even though it tastes like crap.

    Raw cane sugar, refined sugar, sugar syrups, specialty sugars and sugar-containing products enter the United States under a variety of tariff-rate quotas (TRQs). A tariff-rate quota provides for a low tariff on a certain quantity (the quota amount), and a higher tariff on any quantity above the level of the quota. Under the WTO (Uruguay Round) and some other free trade agreements, the United States has committed to minimum annual low-duty access amounts for certain sugars and sugar-containing products. Sugar and any related products paying the high tariff may enter in unlimited quantities.