Satisfying Malaysia’s 50kg per capita sugar consumption

Malaysia’s sugar demand is expected to grow by three per cent a year to over 1.9 million tonnes by 2020 despite the higher prices, said Adam Tomlinson, Rabobank’s International Food and Agribusiness Research and Advisory director.

“The local sugar demand will be driven by the increase in sales of soft drinks and other sugar products, coupled with the growing population and a positive economic outlook,” he told a briefing on sugar price movements here today.

Malaysians consumed about 1.4 million tonnes of sugar in 2010, and demand has been growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 3.4 per cent over the last ten years, he said.

“Although prices have shifted higher in Malaysia relative to the world’s,¬†they have gone up incrementally by 10 to 15 per cent each time,” he said.

He said the price increases in Malaysia were tracking regional trends and were not much higher or lower.

Tomlinson said compared with countries in the region, Malaysia was a large consumer of sugar per capita, consuming an average of 50kg, Thailand, 40kg,while Indonesia, India and Philipines, about 20kg.

“Malaysia is a key importer of raw sugar, increasingly relying on Brazil for sugar needs,” he said.

Brazil is the largest exporter of raw sugar, accounting for over 50 per centof global sugar exports.

Tomlinson said global sugar consumption was projected to increase from 160million metric tonnes in 2009 to 199 million metric tonnes by 2020.

“India and China are expected to be the major growth countries in Asia,” he said. He said urbanisation has encouraged changes in food preferences which had led to an increase in consumption of sweeteners, and this would be the nextdriver of growth for sugar demand in Asia moving forward.

– Bernama