Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend
Not just for the elite
The slave trade was partly driven by demand for labor to grow, harvest and refine sugar, but that, in turn, was driven by an everincreasing demand to consume it. In 1700, the average person in Britain consumed 4 pounds of sugar per year, but that jumped to 18 pounds by 1800. The American colonies had also developed a sweet tooth. And while it was still limited early in the newly formed United States, consumption was already picking up. In the early 1820s, the average American consumed about 6 pounds of sugar per year. By 1838, that consumption hit 10 pounds per year, 20 pounds in 1852 and over 40 by 1900. By the 1990s, Americans were consuming over 100 pounds of sugar per year.