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ETpro's avatar

Why does raw sugar cost more than refined white sugar?

Asked by ETpro (34461points) December 24th, 2010

There are a long list of chemical processing steps required to get refined white sugar from raw sugar (essentially dried cane juice treated with lime). Surely, the refining process not only costs more, but leaves a less wholesome product. The refining process is also much more environmentally unfriendly than keeping sugar raw. Do we humans just naturally look for the stupidest way to do a thing?

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9 Answers

world_hello's avatar

Government subsidies. We hand about 2 billion a year to producers of sugar. The companies that make raw sugar are small while the big ones that make refined have good lobbyists.

Zaku's avatar

Yes, we are ape-tards.

Actually, I expect it has to do with the massive industrial marketplace of today. Whatever will be purchased the most, will be not only made as cheaply as possible, but also transported and stored as cheaply as possible, and in the most monopolistic circumstances, because the volume of the demand allows it to be done on a massive scale and combined with other deals by massive companies leveraging their negotiating abilities.

Raw sugar may also be more volatile and active while the white stuff is more sterile, inert, and therefore more easily stored and transported.

Of course, it is ape-tarded of us to be organized into corporations that operate that way, instead of letting the more intelligent and benevolent of us lead and educate our masses into using more efficient, more healthy, and less wasteful products that cause less overall destruction.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Same reason all healthy food costs more – they know we’ll pay more for a better product.

JLeslie's avatar

I have a feeling it is a question of charging what the market will bear. Perceived as a healthier product, they can charge more and get the price. Or, possibly molasses is sold for a good price? So, a sugar company might miss a step in refining, but they lose selling the molasses when separated? Is that right? Refining it to white would give molasses?

flo's avatar

I have often asked myself that question re. healthier food items. If something is supposed to be healthier, it is automatically more expensive, generally. And that makes no sense. But people will pay designers to tons of $$ for the privilage of advertising their products for them. So “sheeple’ could be the word.

ETpro's avatar

@flo Thanks. I think you may have nailed it.

flo's avatar

@ETpro you’re welcome. I don’t know if the spelling is ‘sheeple’ or ‘sheople’.
And it should be ‘privilage’ not privilage, (for the sheople) although it goes without saying.

ETpro's avatar

@flo Ha! I think it should be ‘privilege’ rather than privilage. I’ve always seen it sheeple as in sheep—but I believe that until they enter the real dictionary (Not the Urban Dictionary or Wiktionary) portmanteaus are open to interpretive spelling.

flo's avatar

@ETpro of course. I was addressing a reader who hasn’t waken up, still.

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