With so many health warnings around sugar it is surprising to discover that Switzerland’s federal government subsidises its production.
The World Health Organisation recommends limiting free sugar consumption to 25 grams (6 teaspoons) a day. Free sugar includes table sugar, honey, the natural sugar in fruit juice and the sugar hidden in processed food.
In Switzerland sugar is produced from sugar beet. In 2018, taxpayers spent CHF 33 million on payments to Swiss sugar beet growers, according to Dr. Patrick Dümmler at Avenir Suisse. In 2019, the annual subsidy rose 17% to CHF 2,100 per hectare, so total taxpayer spending on sugar is likely to be higher in 2019.
In addition to taxpayer support, the price Swiss farmers get for their sugar is further boosted at the expense of consumers, who must swallow duty on imported sugar of CHF 2 to CHF 7 per kilogram.
Sugar is also among the products the government stockpiles for times of crisis, an action that helps to further buoy its price.