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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 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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969 news items


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 ...

FG Insight

FG Insight
Mon, 29 Jun 2015 09:07:13 -0700

On reaching agreement, Colm McKay, British Sugar's agriculture director said: “We believe our agreement sets a firm foundation for the future and demonstrates a commitment to work together to ensure our industry can compete in an increasingly ...

East Anglian Daily Times

East Anglian Daily Times
Thu, 09 Jul 2015 04:15:00 -0700

British Sugar owner ABF reports limited progress for European prices. 12:12 09 July 2015. The British Sugar factory in Bury St Edmunds. British Sugar owner Associated British Foods (ABF) said today that signs of an upturn in European Union sugar prices ...

Employee Benefits

Employee Benefits
Wed, 08 Jul 2015 02:23:29 -0700

Henk Verhoek, head of reward at British Sugar, said: “We have had some interesting developments in salary sacrifice benefits in our flex scheme this year, with holiday trading being one of them. “We introduced it because people were asking for it and ...
Horticulture Week
Mon, 29 Jun 2015 07:26:15 -0700

Topsoil is a byproduct of British Sugar's production process. Every year, sugar beet growers in the UK deliver 7.5 million tonnes of sugar beet to British Sugar's factories; stuck to the beet is some 300,000 tonnes of rich arable soil. This is washed ...
Yahoo Finance UK
Tue, 21 Jul 2015 11:56:15 -0700

Associated British Foods [LON:ABF] has been the owner of British Sugar since 1991. The company has been forced to shut down sugar beet factories in China and take losses on an investment that made ethanol fuel from sugar. ABF said that taking these ...


Fri, 17 Jul 2015 08:11:15 -0700

Most beet grown by UK farmers is processed by British Sugar, with the exception of fodder beet and beet grown for anaerobic digestion. British Sugar's parent company, AB Sugar, said it welcomed the work of SACN but said there was no single answer when ...


Sun, 26 Jul 2015 02:53:33 -0700

The Government would like to see agriculture stand on its own feet and groups like Bright Crop – which is sponsored by, among others, the NFU, British Sugar, HSBC, Natural England and the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) – are springing up ...

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