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British Sugar
Industry Sugar beet processing
Founded 1936
Headquarters Peterborough, England, UK
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 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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1457 news items

Peterborough Telegraph

Peterborough Telegraph
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 03:26:15 -0800

The owners of Peterborough-based British Sugar have reaffirmed their commitment to the city despite the difficulties facing the industry. The reassurance comes after parent company Associated British Foods (ABF) revealed it is to close two sugar ...


Mon, 19 Jan 2015 03:37:30 -0800

British Sugar agriculture director Colm McKay said: “Growers are reporting exceptional yields to date in all of our factory areas.” He added: “This combined with record-breaking factory throughputs at all our sites should result in an excellent ...


Sun, 25 Jan 2015 12:48:45 -0800

British Sugar, filiale d'AB Sugar, et le Syndicat des Sucres ont signé hier (23 janvier – NDLR) un accord commercial portant sur la commercialisation de 100 000 tonnes de sucre blanc mauricien en Grande-Bretagne et en Europe. L'accord entrera en ...

The Grocer

The Grocer
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 01:22:30 -0800

However, John Bason, finance director at British Sugar owner Associated British Foods, believes prices are starting to stabilise, and those who can keep costs down will benefit most from the changes ahead. BS has been pursuing a “relentless drive” for ...

Liverpool Echo

Thu, 15 Jan 2015 22:00:00 -0800

ABF bought British Sugar in 1991 and the EU quota system for sugar producers helped protect it from outside competition, enabling the company to enjoy many years of strong prices and steady cash flow. The quota system is set to end in 2017 and new ...

Norfolk Eastern Daily Press

Norfolk Eastern Daily Press
Thu, 15 Jan 2015 01:05:18 -0800

Lucy Wade, 31, from Knapton, is one of several residents in the small community worried about large vehicles using it as a cut through from the Trunch area to the Cantley British Sugar factory. The issue was discussed at a Knapton Parish Council ...


Fri, 23 Jan 2015 05:52:30 -0800

Early fungicide treatments could prove crucial in optimising sugar beet yields next season as growers look to get higher yields from reduced areas. The announcement by British Sugar to cut the contract tonnage in 2015 by 20% came after a price ...
Tue, 27 Jan 2015 22:00:00 -0800

"Little was really known about the nature of the terrain, or what problems might be beneath it, so it had to be a 'fill only' project using lorry after lorry of locally-sourced subsoil and imported topsoil from British Sugar. We didn't want to risk ...

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