The U.S. exported over 666,250 MT (dry weight) of HFCS-55 to Mexico last year, about the same volume as exported in 2021 and 86 percent of total 2022 HFCS-55 exports.
On a per-pound basis, HFCS-55 exports to Mexico in 2022 averaged higher than 2021’s average—values around this level had been steady for close to ten years, despite more volatile pricing in the Mexican sugar market. Mexican sugar has been trending higher since 2016, and recently refined sugar has surpassed levels last seen in 2011.
This spike in sugar pricing has given HFCS sellers room to increase pricing, which made up for lower exports compared to past years. The efficacy of Mexico’s taxes and warning labels on sugary foods and beverages is questionable—diabetes rates in Mexico continue to grow while volume of soda sold is on the rise again post-COVID. However, some snack food manufacturers are working to reduce caloric sweetener content for products marketed in Mexico, similar to efforts in the U.S.
The U.S. and Mexico agreed back in 2008 to ease sweetener trade between the two countries (Mexican sugar into the U.S. and U.S. HFCS into Mexico), and Mexico’s imports of HFCS-55 grew sharply between 2008 and 2010, hit a record in 2012, then mostly held steady through 2018. Mexico’s demand for HFCS has been slipping since then, however.
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