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History of the Sugar Association


The Sugar Association, Inc. was originally founded as the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) by members of the U.S. sugar industry during World War II in June 1943. The Foundation included U.S. beet and cane sugar growers and refiners as its members, and was dedicated to the scientific study of sugar’s role in food and communication of that role to the public during a period of war-time sugar rationing.

By 1946, SRF had expanded its focus to include international members, and grew from its six original board members and 29 firms and corporations to 77 members – including the entire Hawaiian sugar industry and the entire raw sugar production industry of Cuba. SRF members praised the foundation saying, “The U.S. sugar industry has finally ‘found a single, authentic voice for the expression of its views.’” SRF carried out its objectives through the funding and sponsorship of scientific research related to sugar and its co-products, as well as the creation and distribution of educational materials in both print and film formats.


In 1949, two new corporations were created to assist SRF with its daily operations. These were Sugar Information, Inc. (SI) and the Sugar Association, Inc. (SAI). With this change, SRF became solely responsible for scientific research activities, SI took over public education and communication, and SAI assumed control of member contract oversight and funds distribution to SRF and SI. SRF was reorganized in 1967 into a more international, independent body and became an entirely separate entity renamed the International Sugar Research Foundation. ISRF would go on to become the World Sugar Research Organisation, Ltd. SAI became a member of the original ISRF and are still members of WSRO to this day.

A significant restructuring took place in 1973 when SI was dissolved and its operations folded into SAI. As the only organization remaining in the U.S., and comprised of only domestic membership, SAI was charged with both communications and research efforts around sugar. This was the start of the modern-day Sugar Association.

Science-based Communications

The importance of communicating the facts about sugar directly to consumers became more apparent in the 50s, 60s and 70s, with a heightened public interest in diet and nutrition. A public information program aimed at establishing the facts concerning sugar and health was developed to provide consumers with the information they were seeking. In 1974, SAI published the white paper “Sugar in the Diet of Man” which provided a public, science-based document on which to base its positions. By the late 1980s, despite increased marketplace competition with the evolution of new sweeteners, SAI members noted, “the reputation of sugar has never been stronger within the scientific community.”

In the 21st century, the Association’s activities continue to evolve yet remain grounded in science, even in the face of new, modern-day challenges. SAI’s original mission statement could not be more on-point and relevant – to convey the value of sugar as a food staple and industry to the public using accurate and pertinent information. Never has it been more important to disseminate accurate, science-based information to consumers than it is today. Now, in 2018, the tools of enhanced transparency and increased responsibility are at SAI’s disposal, and its staff are focused on “returning the Association to its roots as a scientific organization.”

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There's more to sugar.

Sugar beet and sugar cane farmers are growing nature’s oldest sweetener, and our association is growing awareness of and confidence in sugar.

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A Proud Industry

From its earliest beginnings, growing sugar has been a family business.

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