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Cooler temperatures not only signify harvest season, but it also means the start of baking season.
Since the pandemic began in March, retail sales of sugar have been strong, and in some cases, it was a tough commodity to find at the grocery store.
“We always have this timeframe in November and December during the baking season where we see an uptick in retail sales,” said Jim Ruhlman, executive vice president of Michigan Sugar Company. “The uptick in retail sales actually happened in March, and it hasn’t slowed down much.”
Ruhlman said difficult to predict what the holiday baking season will look like, but it’s not slowing down.
“Which is a good thing for our company—we would rather sell sugar in a bag than in bulk,” he said. “It’s not that we don’t love our bulk customers, but there’s a margin that we enjoy with retail sales that we would like to do more of it.”
The sugar industry is seeing a steady retail market. Ruhlman said they don’t expect it to change any time soon.
“I don’t know if we’re going to see the huge uptick we saw in November and December like in years past, but only because the uptick seems to already be here,” he said. “It’s a good position to be in. We’ve got the capacity to make a lot of products in our packaging areas, and we will maximize that as best we can going forward.”
He credits the company’s employees to make that possible.
“Our employees and packaging departments are stepping up and stay the course and doing a really good job,” said Ruhlman.