September 25-29th, 2013 will mark the calendar for the 72nd annual sugar cane festival, held each year in New Iberia, Louisiana. For 72 years the festival has brought together sugar-producing parishes to honor the 2.2 billion dollar sugar industry with sweet treats and dancing.
Supported by the American Sugar Cane League, it’s an annual public relations event that maintains a positive image for the industry’s more than 27,000 Louisiana employees, which oversee about 20% of the sugar grown in the US.
Meanwhile, in Florida… the dark underbelly of sugar has been slowly exposed since the mid-90s.
In early 2013, the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney published an article on how the “sugar industry would wither without big government”. By restricting imports, Americans generally pay about 69.9 cents per pound of refined sugar. The world price was less than 27.8 cents.
In addition, a politically connected family has slowly conglomerated sugar production in the United States, particularly in South Florida’s Okeechobee region, where most of the crop is grown. If you were the spokesperson for Big Sugar, would you focus on 27,000 jobs or a sugar baron?
Related Resource from B2CWebcast: PR Hacking: How Ideas Spread And What Marketers Need to Know
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