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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 October, 2004, 21:10 GMT 22:10 UK
10 facts about sugar
sugar cane being chopped in Cuba
Sugar cane being chopped in Cuba

Sugar is a huge global industry, worth billions, consumed in millions of tons and employing countless thousands.

Here are 10 quick facts you may or may not have known about sugar, the sugar industry and related businesses.

  • In 2002, almost 132 million tonnes of sugar were consumed worldwide. [Source: The ethical sugar organization; iafrica.com]

  • Countries in the European Union consumed around 14 million tonnes of that figure. [Source: The ethical sugar organization; iafrica.com]

  • The UK consumes around 2.25 million tonnes of sugar per year, about three-quarters of which is sold direct to industrial users, such as manufacturers of soft drinks and confectionery. [Source: DEFRA.]

  • The consumption of fizzy drinks in the UK has almost doubled in the past 15 years. Young adults now drink an average of six cans each week. [Source: National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2002, quoted on the Food Standard Agency's website.]

  • The European confectionery market - of which sugar confectionery such as gums, jellies and toffees represents a keen slice - is a significant sector of the European food industry. In the UK alone, a recent report from Key Note estimated the segment to be worth 5.96 billion in 2002. [Source: Food and Drink Europe.com]

  • Children in the UK spent 433m on sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks on their journeys to and from school in 2002. This was up from 365m in 2000. [Source: The Sodexho School Meals and Lifestyle Survey]

  • A Foods Standard Authority Consumer Survey in 2000 found that only 12 per cent think that labels are very easy to understand. [Quoted in Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Public Health, February 2004]

  • The convenience foods sector, has grown by 70 per cent over the past 10 years. It is also the largest sector, with almost 17bn spent on convenience food in 2003. This figure represents a billion pounds more than in 2002, and almost a third - 32 per cent - of the total spending on food. [Source: Mintel]

  • British consumers munch their way through 10kg of chocolate per person, each year, well ahead of any other country in Europe. [Source: Datamonitor', The European Confectionery Market to 2007]

  • In 2003, a total of 616 million kg of chocolate was sold in the UK. [Source: Datamonitor', The European Confectionery Market to 2007]

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