The sugar manufacturing industry takes sugarcane, beets and other crops as raw materials to produce raw sugar, sugar, as well as refined sugar. The sugar crops grow in spring generally, and the harvest begins in October. The sugar manufacturers squeeze sugar in October or November and halt the production in March or April of the next year; this period is a production cycle which is known as a squeeze season. Raw material procurement and production present seasonal and phased features, while the marketing is conducted throughout the year.
In 2012, there are 48 sugar manufacturing enterprises (groups) and 270 sugar mills came into operation, and the industrial total asset reached CNY 139,126,125,000, increased by 19.1 percent over the last year; the sales revenue reached CNY 109,165,081,000, increased by 11.12 percent; total profit was CNY 6,955,888,000; the number of participators reached 145,017.00, increased by 1.5 percent. In the sugar squeeze season from 2012 to 2013, China's sugar output reached 13,883,600 tons.
At present, China's sugar consumption shows three distinct characteristics: firstly, industrial consumption develops rapidly, the proportion of industrial sugar consumption reaches 65 percent to 70 percent; secondly, the consumption has obvious seasonal and regional features; thirdly, it presents substitutability and sucrose consumption is affected by starch sugar to some extent. In recent years, the rapid increase of industrial consumption has been the main driving force for China's sugar consumption's increase. Stimulated by the industries of dairy products, beverage, candy, canned food and pastries, the sugar consumption of China's food industry has been increasing year-by-year.
China's per capita annual sugar consumption is less than 11 kilograms, and this number is less than 2 kilograms in rural areas, which is much lower than the level in medium and high-income countries of 24.5 kilograms. As for the long-term perspectives, China's sugar consumption will show a sustained rigid growth. However, "low carbon" has become a popular trend in recent years, low carbon beverages, low carbon food and low carbon consumption made people prefer the healthy consumption concept; while the development of healthy food consumption has limited people's sugar content requirement in food to some extent.
In view of per capita sugar consumption gap between China and global average level, rapid economic development, as well as the demand brought by steady growth of the downstream food and beverage industry, the upward trend of sugar consumption would not be changed in the next five years if there were no major emergencies, output and import volume restrictions. In view of population growth, sugar output increase and upgrading of economic structure, the sugar consumption will still present an upward trend recently, and the per capita annual sugar consumption will develop at the growth rate of 4 percent to 5 percent; it is estimated that China's sugar consumption will enter a relatively stable growth period.