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Sweet deal Red Bull profits from Swiss sugar subsidies

Cans of red bull

Red Bull buys about 25% of the sugar produced in Switzerland, resulting in reported savings for the company of up to CHF10 million

(© Keystone / Christian Beutler)

The makers of sweet products benefit from the federal subsidies paid to sugar beet farmers in Switzerland.

The price of sugar in Switzerland has been on the decline for years. As a result, 400 farmers have quit producing it in recent years. Sugar beet producers receive annual subsidies amounting to CHF36 million ($38 million).

Thanks to the low sugar price, the savings created through these federal funds go indirectly to the companies that buy Swiss sugar, points out Swiss public television, SRFexternal link.

Austrian beverage maker Red Bull, for example, fills three billion cans of its energy drink in St Gallen, eastern Switzerland, each year. Each can contains 27 grams of sugar; in other words, seven sugar cubes.

SRF calculates that Red Bull buys about 25% of the sugar produced in Switzerland. That means savings of up to CHF10 million. In a statement, Red Bull told SRF that these estimates were wrong, and added, “we don’t see it as our job to comment publicly on Swiss sugar beet policy”.

Other major sugar customers include chocolate producers as well as Swiss supermarket chains Coop and Migros.


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