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British Sugar
Industry Sugar beet processing
Founded 1936
Headquarters Peterborough, England, United Kingdom
Number of locations
Area served
United Kingdom
Products Sugar
Parent Associated British Foods
Website britishsugar.co.uk
The facility at Allscott, Shropshire, closed in early 2007.
British Sugar factory at Bury Saint Edmunds at the backdrop of the town's railway station.

British Sugar plc is a subsidiary of Associated British Foods and the sole British producer of sugar from sugar beet.

British Sugar processes all sugar beet grown in the United Kingdom, and produces about half of the United Kingdom's quota of sugar, with the remainder covered by Tate & Lyle and imports. British Sugar and the growers fix a contract called the "Inter Professional Agreement" determining price paid for beet grown and the allocation of growers' quotas. The National Farmers Union (NFU) is the negotiator for the growers.


The British Sugar Corporation was a company that was formed in 1936, when the British parliament nationalised the entire sugar beet crop processing industry, under the banner of British Sugar Corporation. At this time there were 13 separate companies with 18 factories across the country. In 1972 it began selling its sugar products under the name of Silver Spoon.

In 1977, an rights issue decreased the government holding from 36% to 24%. It was taken over by Berisford International in 1982, and in May of that year, the company name was shortened to British Sugar plc.

It was sold on 2 January 1991, to Associated British Foods (ABF) after a crash in property values affected Berisford. ABF had attempted to purchase in the late 1980s but the stockmarket downturn had stopped their move.


Due to need for continued efficiency in the face of changes to the European Sugar Regime, there has been significant reorganisation within the company. The most noticeable is that the number of factories has been reduced over the years. Closures at some sites have resulted in the expansion of active plant processing periods ("campaigns") at others. One of the cost effective measures is to increase the front end processing of sugar beet up to the "thick juice" stage (a syrup). This is stored in tanks and processed out of season spreading the load on the crystallisation stages which do not have to be uprated.


In 1981 the Ely, Felsted, Nottingham and Selby factories closed after a reduction in the allowed sugar quota. This was followed by the closure of a site at Spalding in 1989, Peterborough and Brigg in 1991, King's Lynn in 1994, Bardney and Ipswich in 2001, Kidderminster in 2002, and Allscott and York in 2007. The site at Allscott, which opened in 1927, near Telford, Shropshire, was closed because it "lacked scale" to be run economically, while the site at York, North Yorkshire (opened 1926) was closed due to the poor crop yields in northern England.[1]

Of the 18 factories which were owned by the British Sugar Corporation, only four still process beet - Bury St Edmunds (Suffolk) Cantley (in Norfolk, the first British sugar factory in 1912), Newark-on-Trent (Nottinghamshire) and Wissington (western Norfolk and the largest in Europe). The Bury site is also a major packaging plant for Silver Spoon. The 12 sites already closed have been sold and decommissioned to various degrees - many large concrete silos (for storing the major product, white granulated sugar) still remain even where the sites have been closed, including those at the Kidderminster factory which was closed in 2002 and was sold off in 2006, and Ipswich. Allscott has now been completely demolished. Spalding has been replaced by Spalding Power Station.

BP and DuPont are working with British Sugar to build a bioethanol plant at BP's Hull site, per an announcement made on June 2007.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Two sugar plants set to be closed". BBC News. 4 July 2006. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Vivergo opens UK's largest biorefinery plant in Hull as biofuel debate heats up". 9 July 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2015. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Sugar — Please support Wikipedia.
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Thu, 19 Nov 2015 03:26:15 -0800

British Sugar says it is open to the idea of offering growers longer multiyear contracts to help farmers cope with market volatility after EU production quotas end in 2017. British Sugar managing director Richard Pike said the processing giant was ...

The Grocer

The Grocer
Fri, 20 Nov 2015 04:33:45 -0800

British Sugar has awarded Wincanton a three-year transport contract to distribute 275,000 tonnes of packed sugar throughout the UK each year. Wincanton will operate from the British Sugar manufacturing base in Wissington, near King's Lynn, and work ...


Thu, 29 Oct 2015 03:18:45 -0700

British Prime Minister David Cameron has come under increasing pressure to introduce a national sugar tax on sweet processed foods, candy, and soda pop after an exhaustive new study, released in Britain this week, underlined the deleterious health ...
UK Haulier News
Thu, 19 Nov 2015 06:37:30 -0800

British Sugar, which produces about half of all sugar in the UK, has awarded a new transport contract to Wincanton, the leading provider of innovative supply chain solutions. Operating predominantly from British Sugar's manufacturing base in Wissington ...

Norfolk Eastern Daily Press

Norfolk Eastern Daily Press
Fri, 30 Oct 2015 06:07:30 -0700

He was diagnosed with the industrial disease mesothelioma, lodged a compensation claim against his former employers and made several written statements before his death. The father-of-two, who was employed by British Sugar at King's Lynn for 36 years, ...

Norfolk Eastern Daily Press

Norfolk Eastern Daily Press
Wed, 04 Nov 2015 02:41:15 -0800

But a third year of “significant” profit falls in its struggling sugar arm hit overall group results, leaving underlying full-year pre-tax profits 6% down at £1.03 billion. ABF-owned British Sugar has processing plants in Bury St Edmunds, and ...

FG Insight

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Sun, 22 Nov 2015 10:00:00 -0800

Much of the event's discussion centred around how contracts might be conducted between growers and British Sugar following the abolition of quotas. Growers will likely be required to make a choice between a similar system to that already in place or a ...

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Mon, 09 Nov 2015 03:48:45 -0800

One of these businesses was British Sugar, which at the time was processing up to nine million tonnes of sugar beet at its factories across the UK. Sugar beet comes into the factory straight from the field, and covered with mud. The first thing British ...

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