Why You're About To See More Sugar On Grocery Store Shelves

If you've had trouble finding enough sugar for all of your favorite baked goods this year, you're not alone. But thankfully, relief might be just around the corner.

The United States' domestic sugar production in 2019 and 2020 was some of the lowest in a decade, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and according to American Ag Network, poor weather patterns throughout the midwest, Louisiana, and Mexico damaged much of the annual sugar crop in 2019. In addition, NPR noted that the United States imported more sugar that year than it has since 1981 due to the shortage, which set the country up for a difficult pandemic period where sugar would be harder to come by. 

Many confectionery companies were left struggling to find enough sugar even into last year's holiday season (via CNBC). But now, the U.S. is boosting imports from Mexico to help make up for the shortages (via Food Business News).

Mexican sugar cane to the rescue

The United States Department of Commerce (DOC) has announced that it will be raising import limits for sugar from Mexico, per Food Business News. This is at least the second time this year that the DOC has decided to raise imports from its Southern neighbor (via Baking Business).

According to Baking Business, the DOC raised import limits by 170,000 short tons of sugar back in May. And this latest boost to the nation's sugar supplies will add an additional 135,000 short tons (via Food Business News).

Food Business News notes that domestic sugar production struggles likely contributed to the decision. Michigan Sugar Co. announced that they would be unable to fulfill their contracted sugar production back in April. They are still producing 75% of what was expected from them, but this loss may have been enough for the DOC to consider other options in the tough market.

Insider reports that India, the world's second largest sugar producer, also recently announced that they would be limiting their sugar exports through the month of September. This may have contributed to the DOC's concerns as well.