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Farm policies and added sugars in US diets

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  • Beghin, John C.
  • Jensen, Helen H.

Abstract

We examine how US farm policies for sweetener crops have affected the consumption and composition of sweeteners in the US diet. R&D expenditures have lowered the unit cost of commodities used in sweeteners, but have generated more technical progress in corn than in sugar crops, increasing use of corn in food production, ceteris paribus. Commodity programs have raised the price of sugar and decreased the price of corn. Thus, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) became an inexpensive substitute for sugar in food from 1970 on. However, the effect of policy on ingredient prices has become less important over time. Today the farm value share in sweetened food is below 5% and HFCS is a specialized input in many food items, with limited substitution possibilities. The current link between US sweetener consumption and farm policy is weak. Recent evidence from other high-income countries shows little relationship between sweetener consumption and sugar policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Beghin, John C. & Jensen, Helen H., 2008. "Farm policies and added sugars in US diets," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 480-488, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:33:y:2008:i:6:p:480-488
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    1. Abigail M. Okrent & Julian M. Alston, 2012. "The Effects of Farm Commodity and Retail Food Policies on Obesity and Economic Welfare in the United States," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 94(3), pages 611-646.
    2. Zhen Miao & John C. Beghin & Helen H. Jensen, 2012. "Taxing Sweets: Sweetener Input Tax Or Final Consumption Tax?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(3), pages 344-361, July.
    3. Dave, Dhaval & Doytch, Nadia & Kelly, Inas Rashad, 2016. "Nutrient intake: A cross-national analysis of trends and economic correlates," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 158-167.
    4. Getu Hailu & John Cranfield & Rawlin Thangaraj, 2010. "Do U.S. food processors respond to sweetener-related health information?," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(3), pages 348-368.
    5. Hawkes, Corinna & Friel, Sharon & Lobstein, Tim & Lang, Tim, 2012. "Linking agricultural policies with obesity and noncommunicable diseases: A new perspective for a globalising world," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 343-353.
    6. Bradley J. Rickard & Abigail M. Okrent & Julian M. Alston, 2013. "How Have Agricultural Policies Influenced Caloric Consumption In The United States?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(3), pages 316-339, March.
    7. Golan, Elise & Unnevehr, Laurian, 2008. "Food product composition, consumer health, and public policy: Introduction and overview of special section," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 465-469, December.
    8. Ho, Shuay-Tsyr & Rickard, Bradley J. & Liaukonyte, Jura, 2014. "Economic and Nutritional Implications from Changes in U.S. Agricultural Promotion Efforts," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 46(04), November.
    9. Peterson, Cora, 2011. "A rotten deal for schools? An assessment of states' success with the National School Lunch Program's in-kind food benefit," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 588-596, October.
    10. Alston, Julian M. & Mullally, Conner C. & Sumner, Daniel A. & Townsend, Marilyn & Vosti, Stephen A., 2009. "Likely effects on obesity from proposed changes to the US food stamp program," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 176-184, April.
    11. Guy E.J. Faulkner & Paul Grootendorst & Van Hai Nguyen & Tatiana Andreyeva & Kelly Arbour-Nicitopoulos & Chris Auld & Sean B. Cash & John Cawley & Peter Donnelly & Adam Drewnowski & Laurette Dubé & Ro, 2011. "Economic Instruments for Obesity Prevention: Results of a Scoping Review and Modified Delphi Survey," Monash Economics Working Papers 31-11, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    12. Glauber, Joseph W. & Effland, Anne, 2016. "United States agricultural policy: Its evolution and impact:," IFPRI discussion papers 1543, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Q18 D12 I18 Farm policies Diet Sugar Sweetener Agricultural policy Subsidy Corn HFCS Fructose;

    JEL classification:

    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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