Food suppliers have called on the EU to help manufacturers crippled by the ­soaring cost of sugar.

Ice cream and confectionery are among the sectors struggling to keep up with the rising cost of sugar, which last year had an average market price in the UK of €500-€550 per tonne but has since rocketed by 60% to €800-€880.

James Lambert, CEO and executive chairman of ice cream manufacturer R&R, has called on the EU to help by increasing sugar quotas to meet consumption levels and scrapping tariffs that make it expensive for European manufacturers to buy on the global market.

“There is currently no quota left to purchase in the UK and R&R needs ­sugar to meet production needs in 2012,” he said. “The other option is to buy sugar on the world market but this currently attracts duty of 417 per tonne, so bringing the total price to nearly 1,000.”

Mark Watson, managing director of confectionery specialist Hancocks, said many manufacturers were already asking for price rises on confectionery. “We want the price of sugar to come down. The only way to do that is for the EU to take off the levies or allow free trade. While we’ve got our hands tied there’s nothing our guys can do about it.”

Andrew Kuyk, FDF director of sustainability and competitiveness, said sugar shortages and high prices were causing problems for many of its members.

The FDF has written to Defra secretary of state Caroline Spelman expressing concerns on behalf of member companies and asking her to press for more to be done.

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