By Allie Doise, Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation
NEW ORLEANS--Louisiana sugarcane farmers learned they already have the tools needed to combat attacks on sugar online and in the media.
Sugar producers met during the Sugar Commodity Conference at the 95th Annual Louisiana Farm Bureau Convention here to talk about the industry, listen to experts in the field and deliberate the issues they’ve faced this year.
With an increasingly health-conscious nation, the attack on sugar was one of those issues discussed.
“How consumers view their food these days is completely different than five years ago,” Dr. Courney Gaines, President & CEO of The Sugar Association, said. “Consumers want to know where their food comes from and how it’s made. Health is just one aspect of it.”
Gaines said sugar is definitely the “it” nutrient right now in terms of health aspects, and the pressure is coming from all angles.
“Public health groups and government all have ways in which they want us to reduce our sugar,” she said.
That’s why Gaines believes sugar farmers must tell their story to begin bridging the gap between producers and consumers.
“In Louisiana, we have fifth and sixth generation family businesses, which you don’t see in any industry,” Gaines said. “That story—the pride, the methodology and the hard work that goes into bringing sugar to the table is something I think would resonate a ton with consumers.”
Gaines also said another important thing sugar producers must do is ignore the inaccurate noise surrounding sugar and stay optimistic.
“One thing I want the growers to understand is that they are making a great product,” Gaines said. “Nothing has changed except the world is talking about it. It is still a safe and good product.”