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Ice cream manufacturer demands action on sugar prices

19 August 2011

R&R Ice Cream – said to be Europe’s largest own label ice cream manufacturer – is calling on the EU to help the European food industry deal with the spiralling cost of sugar

Last year the average market price in the UK was between €500-€550 per tonne, whilst the prices now being quoted are more than 60% higher.

James Lambert, CEO and executive chairman of R&R Ice Cream, said: “The price is increasing virtually daily and we have to get some stability back into the market. Across Europe, more than 80 sugar production factories have closed down since 2004 and vast EU subsidies paid to the owners.

“The region has since gone from being one of the world’s largest exporters of sugar to one of its largest importers. These dramatic price increases have been caused by our politicians acting against consumers’ interests and we are urging the EU to either increase quotas and/or allow food manufacturers to import sugar tariff free from the world market.”

While annual global sugar production and consumption are currently roughly equal at around 167 million tonnes; demand for sugar is accelerating by 2% a year which is equivalent to the annual consumption of 80 million people - about the population of Germany. Other contributing factors to the shortage include the damage to sugar beet crops caused by the severe winter of 2010/2011 – which was particularly bad in the UK.

“In order to have a stable, efficient and economically viable sugar industry, the EU needs to increase quota to meet consumption levels,” added James. “There is currently no quota left to purchase in the UK and R&R needs sugar to meet production needs in 2012.

“The other option is to buy our sugar on the world market but this currently attracts duty of €417 per tonne so bringing the total price to nearly €1,000. The tariffs on buying this sugar need to be removed,” added James. “We are not alone - many other food and drink manufacturers are facing similar dramatic price hikes and urgent action is needed.”

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