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British Sugar
Type Subsidiary
Industry Sugar beet processing
Founded 1936
Headquarters Peterborough, England, UK
Number of locations 5
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 UK and produces about half of the UK'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 a 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 a gas-fired 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Two sugar plants set to be closed". BBC News. 4 July 2006. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Sugar — Please support Wikipedia.
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193 news items

Horticulture Week

Horticulture Week
Fri, 10 Oct 2014 04:26:15 -0700

By recovering, screening and blending the rich arable soils that adhere to the 7.5 million tonnes of sugar beet, delivered by farmers to British Sugar's UK factories, we are providing our landscaping, construction and amenity customers with a natural ...
Sat, 18 Oct 2014 20:56:15 -0700

Sugar beet looks like being the crop of the year. Not just because yields/acre promise to be the best ever, but also because the ex-farm price is respectable, having been negotiated with British Sugar, the monopoly processor, more than a year ago.
Thu, 16 Oct 2014 06:52:30 -0700

As a result of this global oversupply, British Sugar has offered beet growers a lower price for 2015-16 of £24/t. Therefore growers who “didn't fancy growing sugar beet next year” who found this lower price was unattractive were offered the chance to ...
Confectionery Production
Wed, 24 Sep 2014 04:15:00 -0700

NFU Sugar, in conjunction with British Sugar, is launching its 2015 Sugar Industry Programme (SIP); an initiative designed to engage younger growers through a dedicated training and development programme. Now in its fifth year, the programme will see a ...

Fort Morgan Times

Fort Morgan Times
Mon, 27 Oct 2014 12:07:30 -0700

In 1985, Tate and Lyle, a British sugar firm, purchased it and shortened the name to Western Sugar Co. In 2002, a group of more than 1,000 sugar beet farmers from Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana bought it from Tate and Lyle and formed a ...
British Baker
Mon, 29 Sep 2014 01:15:00 -0700

Last week Real Good Food negotiated two new supply contracts and vowed to take its complaint against British Sugar to the European Competition Authorities in Brussels. This follows the Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) decision not to open an ...

Product Design & Development

Product Design & Development
Thu, 16 Oct 2014 08:22:30 -0700

British Sugar's Wissington factory. The company has systematically used industrial ecology to turn waste streams and emissions into new product lines, including animal feed, electricity, tomatoes, and bioethanol. Image credit: British Sugar. A new ...

Farmers Guardian

Wed, 15 Oct 2014 09:03:37 -0700

Demand for sugar beet quota to lease in is high, with 2015 quota worth £4/t and volume on offer relatively low, says agent Duncan Clark of DCFM. Mr Clark has handled quota for varying tonnages of several lessors who will not be growing any beet next ...

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