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Iowa Ag Review

Abstract

The United States is the fourth-largest producer of sugar and has well-developed sugarcane and sugar beet industries. However, since the 1970s, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has gained popularity with food processors as a sweetener, a change stimulated by sugar agricultural policies that have raised the price of sugar well above its world level, and the emergence of cheaper sweeteners based on corn. Nearly 7.3 percent of total corn production (2.2 million bushels) was used to produce HFCS in 2003/04. The United States is the world’s lowest-cost producer of HFCS, partly because of access to cheap corn at or below world market prices and low unit costs in large plants. HFCS represents an increasing share of per capita caloric sweeteners delivered for domestic food and beverage use.