Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Lifesavers candy abandons U.S. plant
www.msnbc.com ^ | May 31 | Kevin Tibbles

Posted on 06/01/2002 4:25:00 PM PDT by FourPeas

Manufacturer says high cost of sugar in U.S. prompted exit

Several hundred workers at the Lifesavers candy plant in Holland, Michigan are losing their jobs, as the company moves production to Canada. NBC’s Kevin Tibbles reports.

HOLLAND, Mich., May 31 — Sometimes steps taken to protect American jobs, however well intentioned, may in fact have exactly the opposite result. Several hundred workers at a Michigan plant that makes Lifesavers candy are losing their jobs — because the company is moving production out of the United States. It is a very sour ending, for an all-American city.

THEY’RE CALLING it death by sugar. After 35 years, the American candy icon, Lifesavers, is closing its plant in Holland, Mich. Some 600 jobs will be gone by next year.

“That’s about a $35 million hit to the local economy,” says Mayor Al McGeehan.

Kraft Foods says the high cost of sugar in the United States has forced it to relocate its Lifesavers division to Canada, where sugar is nearly half the price.

And Lifesavers isn’t the first candy maker to head for the borders. Others like Chicago-based Broch’s, Bob’s Candies of Georgia and Jolly Rancher in Chicago are either closing or leaving the country. About 11,000 jobs will be lost in these three companies alone.

Americans consume more than seven billion pounds of candy each year, nearly 30 pounds per person. And candy, like lifesavers, is 98 percent sugar.

These days, even though you’re buying a brand of candy you probably grew up with, chances are it’s been made somewhere else.

“If you don’t move, you’re not going to stay in business here in the United States,” says Sal Ferrera, whose father started making candy in Chicago in 1908.

The family makes lemonheads, fireballs, gummy worms and others. Ferrera has opened two plants in Canada and one in Mexico. He plows through two million pounds of sugar a week, and saves as much as 15 cents on every pound by buying it on the world market.

“It’s really sad that now it’s not being made by Americans,” says Ferrera. “It’s being made over the borders and being brought back into this country.”

But America’s sugar producers say sugar prices don’t explain why the candy companies are leaving.

“These companies are too embarrassed to acknowledge the real reason that they may be leaving,” says Jack Roney of the American Sugar Alliance. “And that is to flee American workers, to flee the compulsion to have to pay workers a decent wage.”

But the bottom line is the American candy industry is in decay and candy-making towns like Holland are being left with nothing more than the hole in the middle.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; News/Current Events; US: Michigan
KEYWORDS: lifesavers; michigan; plantclosing; sugar
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-66 next last

1 posted on 06/01/2002 4:25:00 PM PDT by FourPeas
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: FourPeas
“These companies are too embarrassed to acknowledge the real reason that they may be leaving,” says Jack Roney of the American Sugar Alliance. “And that is to flee American workers, to flee the compulsion to have to pay workers a decent wage.”

Whatever Jack, they will be paying more for labour in Quebec than they were in the states.

2 posted on 06/01/2002 4:28:13 PM PDT by ContentiousObjector
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FourPeas
bump
3 posted on 06/01/2002 4:36:57 PM PDT by Maelstrom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FourPeas
This has hit the Holland area real hard. Add this to the huge number of layoffs in the office furniture industry. But to say that if they don't move, they are going to be out of business? Please. A local economist did some research and concluded that the profit on a single roll of Lifesavers is staggering. Less than 5 cents of the total cost is for materials, labor, packaging, advertising, etc.- the rest is profit. This isn't about staying in business, it's about making more profits- and shafting American workers in the process. Needless to say, many here in the Holland area will no longer be buying Lifesavers products.
4 posted on 06/01/2002 4:41:42 PM PDT by rintense
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ContentiousObjector
Amazing, isn't it, that some people think the only determining factor when American businesses make decisions is how best to screw-over their employees.
5 posted on 06/01/2002 4:42:13 PM PDT by FourPeas
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: rintense
Good old NAFTA strikes again!
6 posted on 06/01/2002 4:42:45 PM PDT by holyscroller
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: FourPeas
Yup,

I am sure the fact the American sugar industry is catatonic and uncompetitive and entirely dependant on welfare from Washington has nothing to do with it.

7 posted on 06/01/2002 4:46:15 PM PDT by ContentiousObjector
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: holyscroller
It's the American sugar farmer subsidy.
8 posted on 06/01/2002 4:46:17 PM PDT by Shermy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: FourPeas
Another manufacturing company out of the US. Soon, we will be consumers of everything and not producers of much of anything. We won't know how to so much as make a lifesaver candy anymore.
9 posted on 06/01/2002 4:48:21 PM PDT by PatrioticAmerican
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PatrioticAmerican
If washington didn't make it impossible to manufacture in the United States the companies wouldn't flee,
10 posted on 06/01/2002 4:49:06 PM PDT by ContentiousObjector
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: FourPeas;ContentiousObjector;Maelstrom;rintense;holyscroller
Sometimes steps taken to protect American jobs, however well intentioned, may in fact have exactly the opposite result.

Interesting statement - and it's even more interesting that they did not expand on it, since it's the crux of the whole story.

OK class, I won't give any hints since the answer's so easy - who will be the first to do PMSNBC's job and give me the correct answer?

11 posted on 06/01/2002 4:49:24 PM PDT by Senator Pardek
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2sheep; Jeremiah Jr; babylonian; Prodigal Daughter
Lifesavers abandons U.S.<<<

From "SOS" to "SOL", kind of like the saying, "Life sucks and then you die". Ooops...

12 posted on 06/01/2002 4:49:31 PM PDT by Thinkin' Gal
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ContentiousObjector; Shermy
You answered while I was typing my post - a gold star!
13 posted on 06/01/2002 4:50:26 PM PDT by Senator Pardek
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: FourPeas
I guess we're hearing that "giant sucking sound" from the north, not the south.
14 posted on 06/01/2002 4:51:06 PM PDT by Veggie Todd
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Senator Pardek
That is basically what it comes down to,

The tariffs on steel from overseas will save some steel workers jobs, but it is going to cost millions of manufacturing jobs

The laughable tarrif on Canadian wood is going to save some jobs but it is going to hurt the real estate and construction markets.

In both cases, our tarrifs are based on illegal subsides that well, frankly don't exist.

And while we are going postal over fictional subsides overseas, Washington is using our tax dollars as toilet paper with new spending on our very own illegal subsides,

Washington Makes Me Want To Puke,

15 posted on 06/01/2002 4:57:04 PM PDT by ContentiousObjector
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: FourPeas
If American manufacturing jobs keep going elsewhere, Americans won't be able to afford a roll of Lifesavers.
16 posted on 06/01/2002 4:57:07 PM PDT by NoControllingLegalAuthority
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ContentiousObjector
Dead on.
17 posted on 06/01/2002 5:00:07 PM PDT by SteamshipTime
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: ContentiousObjector
Isn't it hilarious that PMSNBC would not elaborate on this because it's a Big Gubmint program, even though they admit they know it's harmful?

As long as the intention is good, it cannot be challenged.

18 posted on 06/01/2002 5:03:09 PM PDT by Senator Pardek
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Senator Pardek
It is pathetic, it just makes me throw up my arms in disgust,

I lived in Canada for 7 years, and not even the most liberal of Canadians would tollerate this crap.

why isn't Bush vetoing this garbage, that is his job, that is his ONLY job!

It is time for freepers to come to terms with the fact that Bush is every bit as stupid as the democrats make him out to be.

19 posted on 06/01/2002 5:08:23 PM PDT by ContentiousObjector
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Senator Pardek; Contentious Objector
The imposition of protectionism on American products in a bid to ‘protect’ them from impeding restrictive competition from abroad is one of the biggest mistakes I have ever seen any competent government make. If this was set up by some communist government then I would have understood it, but from the USA!?!

If you think about it lucidly, all that tariffs have done is make the ‘protected’ industry more inefficient and unproductive. Thus they become inept bungling corporate messes.

And if you study economic theory, protectionism was proven to be too challenging for most fiscal policies, and is actually out of vogue. Very few nations have been able to pull it off, and those few have been the ones that have managed to use protectionism to improve the protected industry, and once the protection was lifted the industry was very robust and efficient.

However if you look at the examples in the US this is not the case. American protection is basically set up in a manner that only protects American jobs, but does not provide enough incentive for the industry to improve itself. And although the jobs are saved, for now, they soon disappear once the protection is lifted, and the industry is found to be even more inefficient than how it was at the beginning. And all the jobs that had been ‘saved’ disappear.

Take a look at the steel industry, and compare it to a country like Japan (which is one of the biggest steel exporters in the world). Japan is so efficient that it is in the top tier of steel exporters, even though it DOES NOT have any steel ore or mines whatsoever. It imports the ore, improves on it, and then exports it. The American steel industry on the other hand is pathetic. It is actually miraculous it still exists. And unlike the American Automobile industry which has somehow managed to survive (although I was reading an economic projection that said the Big Three American car makers will be out of business in the decade, or so foreign they are no longer ‘America’) , the steel industry seems facing outright extinction!

And all that protectionism will do is prolong the inevitable.

20 posted on 06/01/2002 5:18:23 PM PDT by spetznaz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: FourPeas
"Kraft Foods says the high cost of sugar in the United States has forced it to relocate its Lifesavers division to Canada, where sugar is nearly half the price. "

You support tarrifs to protect one industry, you end up hurting others. Protectionists are to stupid and selfish to understand that.

Bush's steel tarrifs will cause many manufacturers that use steel to re-locate over seas and the anti free traders will have only themselves to blame. Idiots.

21 posted on 06/01/2002 5:25:50 PM PDT by monday
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ContentiousObjector
#10 - That, too. Profits usually drive many decisions. Of course, regulations do, too.
22 posted on 06/01/2002 5:28:29 PM PDT by PatrioticAmerican
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Senator Pardek
who will be the first to do PMSNBC's job

Neil Cavuto who had this story back in march?! My favorite is the "economist" that estimates Lifesavers' CGS at $.05, of course he shows none of his numbers that he bases that on. If I remember right when Neil had him on the guy was talking about the store sale price, must have forgotten that a lot of that goes to the store.

23 posted on 06/01/2002 5:28:47 PM PDT by discostu
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: FourPeas
Sugar more expensive in the US than abroad????? What's up with that?
24 posted on 06/01/2002 5:35:36 PM PDT by TheBattman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FourPeas
Let's not forget that this will mean that Cuban sugar will be used to make Lifesavers. It seems that I can buy Cuban sugar from Kraft, but I cannot buy Cuban tobacco from Padron. (Not that I'm advocating an end to the embargo; I'm just pointing out the hypocrisy here.)

ML/NJ

25 posted on 06/01/2002 5:37:09 PM PDT by ml/nj
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TheBattman
"Sugar more expensive in the US than abroad????? What's up with that?"

Because the US government slaps a nearly 100% tarrif on imported sugar in order to keep prices artificially high for US sugar producers.

Thats why sugar is cheaper in Canada which produces absolutely none. Even after paying to import sugar it is still cheaper than domestic US sugar.

Doesn't it make you feel all warm inside knowing you are paying higher prices for everything that has sugar in it so that you can support a bunch of wealthy farmers?

26 posted on 06/01/2002 5:45:33 PM PDT by monday
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: FourPeas
The US is a large scale net importer of manufactured goods and an exporter of hides, grain, farm products, etc. This is not the profile of a manufacturing super power; this is the profile of a Third World Country. And every day the gubmint makes it worse.

I say it again: when the Democrats get in, it gets worse and when the Repubbys get in, it don't get no better.

27 posted on 06/01/2002 5:52:30 PM PDT by edger
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FourPeas; all
Some links to the Lifesavers closing history:

State: Keep Lifesavers PLant Open

City Leaders Respond to Lifesavers Plant Closing

Kraft, Union Discuss Plant-Closing Details

State Makes Pitch to Kraft

Lifesavers talks can't lure Kraft

Lifesavers Rescue Bid Sour to Kraft

Lawmakers Request Help for Lifesavers Employees

Lifesavers Employees Denied Goverment Assistance

Lifesavers Caught Up in US Sugar Policy

28 posted on 06/01/2002 5:57:37 PM PDT by rintense
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rintense
You can't have competative trade when the traders are not equal in economies of scale.
29 posted on 06/01/2002 9:46:12 PM PDT by Spar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: FourPeas

The Jolly Rancher Candy Company was founded in Golden, Colorado, by Bill and Dorothy Harmsen in 1949. They called the company Jolly Rancher to suggest a hospitable, western company. The company originally made ice cream, chocolate and hard candy. As hard candy sales grew, however, they began to concentrate on developing their "Famous for Flavor" line of hard candies.

In 1966, the Harmsens sold Jolly Rancher to Beatrice Foods, but the family continued to be involved in the day-to-day operation of the business. Leaf purchased Jolly Rancher in 1983. Hershey Foods Corporation acquired the Leaf North America confectionery operations from Huhtamaki Oy of Helsinki, Finland in 1996.

Lifesavers be damned if they leave America !!!......... Jolly Rancher's.... "FIRE" .... rules !!

Stay Safe !!

30 posted on 06/01/2002 10:23:44 PM PDT by Squantos
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #31 Removed by Moderator

To: monday
I wish we could export government jobs. Teaching jobs first. Maybe we could put government schools 100% on line and hire teachers in India. The kids would learn good English.
32 posted on 06/01/2002 11:16:12 PM PDT by LarryLied
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

Comment #33 Removed by Moderator

To: ContentiousObjector
If washington didn't make it impossible to manufacture in the United States the companies wouldn't flee
Here in WA State the taxing Democrats managed to drive out Boeing, a really BIG company.
34 posted on 06/01/2002 11:27:20 PM PDT by Libertina
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: allend
If he is such a rocket scientist, why is screwing up everything he touches, look at what he has done so far with his presidency, he is the biggest RINO of them all.
35 posted on 06/01/2002 11:45:13 PM PDT by ContentiousObjector
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Mortin Sult
The Economist ran an article about this back in 1999. Americans pay ridiculous amounts for sugar, and you had companies like FloSun, giving money to Bill Clinton to keep the sugar subsidies and tarrifs high.

I brought this up with the Pat Buchanan crowd and they gave me a nasal, whingeing lecture about how they didn't mind paying extra money for sugar to sustain the important domestic sugar industry. Well here are the results. The next person whom you see advocating protectionism, hit them with this.

Regards, Ivan

36 posted on 06/02/2002 4:14:25 AM PDT by MadIvan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: monday,ml/nj
Canada which produces absolutely none

Canada produces over 10% of it's own sugar from sugar beets (Alberta). Canadian farmers do not get a sugar beet subsidy The majority of cane is imported from Australia, South America and the Caribbean. Not Cuba.

37 posted on 06/02/2002 4:52:42 AM PDT by Snowyman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: monday
Doesn't it make you feel all warm inside knowing you are paying higher prices for everything that has sugar in it so that you can support a bunch of wealthy farmers?

Unfortunately, not all the farmers are wealthy, but yes, the tarrifs are obviously doing farm more harm than good.

What formed my initial question/confusion was that this situation reminded me of the prescription drug cartel - You can get the EXACT same prescription drugs in Canada for far less than in the US. I didn't know if the Sugar situation was similar or a totally different ball of wax...although in both cases, US consumers are getting the screw.

38 posted on 06/02/2002 6:12:15 AM PDT by TheBattman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: TheBattman
"You can get the EXACT same prescription drugs in Canada for far less than in the US".

Actually it would be more accurate to say that Americans can get the exact same drug for less. Believe me, the Canadians are PAYING for it. In effect they subsidize Americans who buy drugs in Canada. Now how right is that?

39 posted on 06/02/2002 7:00:37 AM PDT by kylaka
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: Mortin Sult
How the sugar subsidy program works
40 posted on 06/02/2002 7:13:50 AM PDT by Ben Ficklin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: Snowyman
What I can't figure out (maybe I'm missing something obvious) is why move at all? Would sugar be tariffed to that extent, coming from Canada? Uhhhh....NAFTA? Ya know? Truck it in.

Open question for the floor.
41 posted on 06/02/2002 8:05:40 AM PDT by thescourged1
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: FourPeas
Kraft Foods says the high cost of sugar in the United States has forced it to relocate

Of course I'm sure the high cost of compliance with government regulations had no hand in this whatsoever.

42 posted on 06/02/2002 8:19:12 AM PDT by scouse
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FourPeas
Guess they can retrain and get jobs as web masters. Wait with 1 million tech jobs lost, maybe they should get jobs at Kmart. But wait Kmart laid off 25,000....
43 posted on 06/02/2002 8:40:18 AM PDT by Dialup Llama
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: edger
The US is a large scale net importer of manufactured goods and an exporter of hides, grain, farm products, etc.

Source, please.

44 posted on 06/02/2002 8:41:36 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: kylaka
The Canadians are taxed at %15 to help cover the cost of healthcare. A large scale revolt would happen in the US if that ever happened here. Drugs may be a bit cheaper, but from what I understand from friends who are Canadian, trying to get a doctor's appointment, let alone one with a sepcialist, is worse than the US HMO system. Again, this is coming from a Canadian friend.
45 posted on 06/02/2002 8:45:11 AM PDT by rintense
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: thescourged1
Truck it in.

If you used Canada as a trans-shipment point, the sugar would not be considered a Canadian product, and thus not protected under NAFTA.

46 posted on 06/02/2002 8:45:34 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: all
The only entity that should determine the price of any product is the free market...

The government should be nowhere around...

But yet, there the government is, making sure they are taking care of the "little guy"....

Instead, the government crucifies the "little guy" by ursurping more and more of his livelyhood to support programs that, instead of helping, do exactly the opposite by creating problems where none previously existed...

The government sacrifices the "little guy" to continue it's own bogus existence...

The problem is that the "little guy" is too stupid to know that it is the government that is killing him, not businesses leaving for greener pastures...

Remember class,

Free enterprise Business solves problems where they actually do exist....

Force backed Government creates problems where they never previously existed...

47 posted on 06/02/2002 9:00:50 AM PDT by Ferris
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: FourPeas
The main concern of any company is the profit line. If, after taking all things into consideration, they decide they can increase the profit line by moving overseas, they will do it. If they have to make cutbacks for the sake of the profit line, they will do it. The best thing for the individual worker is to go up the food chain. People on the bottom of that food chain get eaten by more people.
48 posted on 06/02/2002 9:17:07 AM PDT by Don Myers
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: allend
Bush is running things because you can fool most of the people all of the time.
49 posted on 06/02/2002 9:44:26 AM PDT by SteamshipTime
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Mortin Sult
To put it succinctly, other than a small sliver of South Florida, the climate of the United States is unsuitable for production of sugar cane and beet sugar requires a higher degree of processing. Throw in the five linear feet of environmental and workplace regulations, and it is easy to see why homegrown sugar is more expensive. Tariffs are imposed to make up the difference, but we're not really protecting sugar producers so much as we are protecting the state's environmental and labor law rackets.
50 posted on 06/02/2002 9:52:39 AM PDT by SteamshipTime
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-66 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson