Sugar Trust

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

Sugar Trust was the popular name for the American Sugar Refining Company (ASRC), a powerful conglomeration of sugar manufacturers that dominated the U.S. sugar industry from the 1880s onward. Although the ASRC was technically a trust for only a few short years, the popular press continued to refer to the company as the “Sugar Trust” for many decades. Like John D. Rockefeller’s famous Standard Oil Trust, the Sugar Trust symbolized ruthless corporate competition for a generation of muckraking journalists and populist politicians. Opponents were especially worried that the Sugar Trust’s actions raised sugar prices for consumers, and political cartoons sometimes personified the Trust as a bloated bully cruelly stealing penny candies from innocent children. Concerns about the Sugar Trust came up in debates over tariffs, corporate regulation, and even U.S. expansion into the Caribbean and Pacific at the turn of the twentieth century.