Ice cream man issues sugar warning

16 August 2011

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16 August 2011 | Adam Leach

The CEO of Europe’s largest own brand ice cream manufacturer has blamed politicians for causing sugar prices to spiral out of control.

In February the price of sugar hit a 30-year-high, largely as a result of floods in Australia, and it has remained volatile ever since. Now, R&R Ice Cream, which makes Smarties and Kelly’s Clotted Cream brands of ice cream, is calling on politicians to help companies deal with inflated prices.

James Lambert, CEO and executive chairman of R&R Ice Cream, said: “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 from the world market for free.”

While annual sugar production across the world is holding steady at around 167 million tonnes, demand is increasing at an annual rate of around two per cent which has resulted in the price rises.

Lambert said unless the EU raises the stock quota for sugar supplies, companies will have to buy sugar on the world market. “This currently attracts duty of €417 per tonne, bringing the total price to nearly €1,000. The tariffs on buying this sugar need to be removed.”

Speaking to SM, Sergey Gudoshnikov, senior economist at the International Sugar Organization (ISO), said uncertainty over prices is likely to continue. “Until normal stock levels return, the prices will remain volatile,” he said. He expects the “low-stock environment” to remain for the next 12-18 months.

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