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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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904 news items

FG Insight

FG Insight
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 04:03:45 -0700

Colm McKay, British Sugar's Agriculture Director, said “We were keen to notify our growers of this season's campaign start dates as early as possible so they can plan their harvesting and delivery schedules especially as this campaign will finish ...

Bury Free Press

Bury Free Press
Wed, 02 Sep 2015 09:52:30 -0700

... new initiative to provide an outstanding option for Bury St Edmunds and West Suffolk.” Among businesses supporting the venture are Treatt, UK Power Networks, Vitec, Claas UK, Marshall's, Bosch and British Sugar along with the University of East ...

The Press, York

The Press, York
Tue, 01 Sep 2015 22:07:01 -0700

Locomotives will also be on display, including a class 04 D2245, a class 03 03079, a Ruston 88DS related to the Rowntree company, and an ex-British Sugar 165DS, also from York. Visitors will also see a demonstration run of a recently restored Wickham ...


Tue, 30 Jun 2015 01:15:00 -0700

Sugar beet growers will receive a reduced price of £20.30/t for their 2016-17 contract tonnage, processor British Sugar has announced. The £3.70 price cut from the 2015-16 campaign's £24 comes after a period of contract negotiations between British ...


Sun, 30 Aug 2015 11:00:00 -0700

His first recognition of the value of ideas to commercial applications came on undertaking a PhD, sponsored by British Sugar. At the time, he explained, the organisation was facing some stress due to concerns from Coca Cola about a cloudiness forming ...


Sun, 23 Aug 2015 12:05:08 -0700

“We expect European Union sugar profits will grow further when efficient processors like British Sugar can offset lower prices with increased volume winning share from less efficient EU producers and high-cost sugar imports.” Follow the Telegraph on ...


Thu, 30 Apr 2015 07:48:45 -0700

A group representing small, sustainable farmers has staged a protest against British Sugar, demanding a “fair deal” for small producers. About 50 activists from the Landworkers Alliance (LWA) gathered outside British Sugar's factory in Bury St Edmunds ...

FG Insight

FG Insight
Mon, 29 Jun 2015 08:51:51 -0700

British Sugar announces that agreement has been reached between NFU Sugar and British Sugar on the terms of the sugar beet contract offer for 2016/17. On reaching agreement, Colm McKay, British Sugar's agriculture director said: “We believe our ...

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