Sugar Association

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The Sugar Association, headquartered in Washington, D.C., states that its mission "is to promote the consumption of sugar as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle through the use of sound science and research."[1] It engages in public relations on behalf of its member companies, encouraging the use of sugar. Member companies consist of sugar producers in the U.S.[2]

Nutritional issues

The Sugar Association maintains that sugar is an essential and healthy part of the diet and says that sugars are not "uniquely fattening." The Association's website says, "Nutrition experts consistently recommend increasing carbohydrates to achieve a healthful diet."[3]

Member companies

  • The Amalgamated Sugar Company
  • American Crystal Sugar Company
  • American Sugar Cane League
  • American Sugar Refining, Inc.
  • C&H Sugar Company, Inc.
  • Hawaiian Sugar & Transportation Cooperative
  • Michigan Sugar Company
  • Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative
  • Okeelanta Corporation
  • Osceola Farms Company
  • Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers, Inc.
  • Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative
  • Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida
  • United States Sugar Corporation[4]


In 2003, the sugar industry in the U.S. was threatening to have U.S. government funding of the World Health Organization (WHO) cut off because WHO was saying that no more than 10% of a person's daily calories should come from sugar. CBS News wrote, "An effort to get an increasingly flabby world to stop eating so much sugar ran head-on into the U.S. sugar lobby, which claims the dangers of the sweet stuff are being overstated. People should get no more than 10 percent of their daily calories from sugar and other high-calorie sweeteners, the World Health Organization will recommend in a report on Wednesday.

"That guideline is among several in WHO's attempt at a global strategy on health aimed at preventing such threats as heart disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes. It was immediately attacked by the Sugar Association, which represents U.S. growers and refiners." [5]

Sarah Boseley of the Guardian wrote about the threat to cut off funding, "The threat is being described by WHO insiders as tantamount to blackmail and worse than any pressure exerted by the tobacco lobby. The association, together with six other big food industry groups, has also written to the US health secretary, Tommy Thompson, asking him to use his influence to get the WHO report withdrawn. The coalition includes the US Council for International Business, comprising more than 300 companies, including Coca-Cola and Pepsico. [6]


As an example of advertising to increase sales, AG Weekly (Agricultural Weekly) of Twin Falls, Idaho wrote, "The Sugar Association is just finishing a $4 million advertising campaign in nine major urban areas to promote sugar, said Andrew Briscoe, association president and chief executive. The campaign, which received voluntary funding from Amalgamated Sugar Co. in Boise and five other sugar companies, started in September. The effort will run through January in one remaining city." [7]

The sugar industry's image has been tarnished because of concerns in the U.S. about obesity. On March 20, 2005, the U.S. News & World Report wrote about another $3 million to $4 million ad campaign funded by sugar beet growers, "After several decades of declining sales--much of it lost to cheaper high-fructose corn syrup--the industry felt it needed to "reintroduce the consumer to sugar," says Melanie Miller, a spokeswoman for the Sugar Association."

The magazine article talked about the effects of sugar, "A study published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women who drank soda pop or other sweet drinks were more likely to gain weight and had a higher risk for diabetes than other women. Another study, in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that children who ate some types of sweet foods--candy, soda pop, and sweet bakery goods--were less likely to get all their recommended vitamins than other children. Last year, for the first time, a government committee linked sugar-sweetened beverages to obesity. Then in January, guidelines from the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services made recommendations for sugar consumption stricter than ever before." [8]


Staff: [9]

Board members: [10]

Contact details

1300 L Street, NW, Suite 1001
Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone: (202) 785-1122
Fax: (202) 785-5019
Email: sugar AT


SourceWatch resources


  1. About page, Sugar Association, accessed May 2008.
  2. Press releases, Sugar Association, accessed May 2008
  3. Sugar Association Balanced Diet, organizational website, accessed December 14, 2011
  4. Member companies, Sugar Association, accessed May 2008.
  5. "Sugar Lobbyists Sour On Study", CBS News, April 23, 2003.
  6. Sarah Boseley, "Sugar Industry Threatens to Scupper WHO",, April 21, 2003.
  7. Scott Kraus, "Sugar Association to wrap up ad campaign", AG Weekly, February 8, 2007.
  8. Elizabeth Querna, "No, it's not just your sweet tooth", U.S. News & World Report, March 20, 2005.
  9. Staff, Sugar Association, accessed May 2008.
  10. Board members, Sugar Association, accessed May 2008.