Is This the Ghost of the Romans? Sugar Shortage

You may want to start considering some sugar-free options and get used to what substitute sweeteners taste like because there is a sugar shortage. This may not be such a bad thing as far as our dental health goes, however. Earlier this month we published an article about how the Romans’ diet, which was free of sugar, was actually great for their teeth. Perhaps this sugar shortage is a way to improve ours.

Thanks, El Niño

As usual, the only time we hear about El Niño is when something is wrong. There’s no difference here. Thanks to El Niño, the world is suffering from a sugar shortage that’s worse than experts predicted. Droughts have hit areas of the world that produce sugar (think India, Thailand and China) very hard and sugar production has taken a hit. Not only is this years’ production of sugar affected, but 2017’s supply is predicted to be low, too. As expected, our wallets are going to feel the pain when our sweet tooth comes calling. The price of sugar is up 45 percent from where it was back in August of last year.

Some areas have received too much rain, others too little. India, which is the world’s second-largest sugar producer, got too little. So little that farmers weren’t able to plant as many crops this year as they usually do. On the other hand, Brazil received rain, but way too much, which is just as bad for sugar cane crop production. This goes to show that El Niño casts its wrath in unpredictable, but equally as unfortunate, ways.

What This Means

What exactly does this sugar shortage mean for us, the consumers? In short, there isn’t going to be enough sugar to go around for the world, which is expected to use 4.95 million tons of sugar this year alone. To be exact, our demand for sugar is forecasted to exceed what’s available by over seven million tons! However, if there is such a thing as good timing for a sugar shortage, it’s now. Ironically, the price of sugar is as low as it has been in years because of a surplus in sugar production. Regardless, that surplus is not going to cover the demand for sugar this year.

How is El Niño Causing a Sugar Shortage?

Let’s be honest, we’ve all heard the term ‘El Niño’, but do any of us actually know what it means? Yes, it has something to do with the weather, but let’s get a little more specific. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), El Niño “refers to the large-scale ocean-atmosphere climate interaction linked to a periodic warming in sea surface temperatures across the central and east-central Equatorial Pacific.” This may still sound a little convoluted, but, as Brazil and India know, sometimes this means more rain, other times it means less. And in 2016, it means less sugar. Hope you like your coffee black!


Due to this sugar shortage, will you be limiting your sugar intake?




Kirstin Wright
Kirstin Wright
Kirstin is an IT worker by day and a freelance writer by night. When not behind a computer screen, she can be found exploring one of central Florida's famous theme parks or embarking on a new adventure. You can read about her adventures at Fun Orlando Ideas!