The sugar industry refers to the industry that grows, processes, refines, transports, buys and sells sugar throughout the world. Sugar has been an important staple of the human diet, dating back to 300 BC when Alexander the Great brought it back to the civilized world via trade routes from Asia to Europe via India and the Middle East. . This industry is a thriving market, driven by humanity’s need for sweet foods and drinks consumed at ever-higher rates.
Molasses, a by-product of refining sugar.
Sugarcane and sugar beet, the raw forms of refined sugar, are grown all over the world in regions where swamps and tropical climates exist. Wherever sugar is grown, thousands of acres of plants cover large tracts of land. The main sugar producing countries include the United States (USA), China, India and Brazil.
The sugar industry harvests the raw sugar product and transports it to refineries. Refineries and sugar mills reduce sugarcane in various forms such as raw sugar, sugar granules or powdered sugar. Refining plants also sometimes process raw sugar into brown sugar, molasses, syrups, and liquid sugars. These products are then shipped to other companies through the sugar industry to produce the foods and products that humans consume.
Like other industries that sell products that are highly sought after by consumers, the sugar industry controls the amount of sugar to be transported to other regions. Factors such as the availability of sugar products due to growing seasons, transportation and fuel costs, taxes and other international trade costs can all play a role in the costs of buying and selling sugar.
In many of the world’s most developed countries, sugar is consumed at the rate of 20-30 teaspoons or more per day, with teenagers representing the largest number of consumers who eat sugar daily. In cooperation with the sugar industry, studies by the US Food and Drug Administration indicate that consumption of sugary products and sweeteners has increased significantly since the 1980s.