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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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1034 news items

Bury Free Press

Bury Free Press
Sun, 15 Mar 2015 08:45:00 -0700

Mike Blowers, factory manager at British Sugar, and colleagues presented cheques to the Bury St Edmunds branch of Guide Dogs for the Blind and the Stowmarket-based brain injury rehabilitation charity Livability Icanho on Tuesday. The money - £10,076 ...
Farmers Guardian
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 03:30:00 -0700

The announcement from British Sugar in September last year means beet growers are faced with growing a smaller crop for less money, after British Sugar and the NFU announced a £7.67/tonne price cut in July for the 2015 crop. Growers were offered a ...


Thu, 26 Mar 2015 08:17:07 -0700

A little-known disease appeared in British sugar beet crops for the first time last year and growers will need to be on red alert during the new campaign. Adam Clarke finds out all you need to know about stemphylium.

NFU Online (blog)

NFU Online (blog)
Thu, 12 Mar 2015 08:39:11 -0700

The lack of extensive frost contributed to an uninterrupted flow of beet for the British Sugar factories. Operationally, these have performed flawlessly given the additional volumes. The detailed research work and advice on best farming practice ...


Sat, 28 Mar 2015 01:03:45 -0700

If granted permission built, the store would create approximately 40 permanent jobs, with additional jobs created through construction and supply chain opportunities. Aldi have also announced plans to build another store on part of the former British ...
Washington Post
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 02:45:00 -0700

From pre-Revolutionary days, when citizens protested a British sugar tax that got between us and our rum, to the long national nightmare known as Prohibition, we've had an often bizarre relationship with the Demon Drink. Now, you** can celebrate that ...
Kidderminster Shuttle
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 09:37:47 -0700

AN award-winning discount food retailer is unveiling plans to redevelop part of the former British Sugar site with a high-quality, carefully designed food store. The Silverwoods site, in Kidderminster, has outline planning permission for a mixed-use ...

Bury Free Press

Bury Free Press
Sun, 22 Mar 2015 04:48:45 -0700

“Mike Blowers, British Sugar's factory manager, said: “We have been made aware by beet delivery vehicle operators, our staff and local residents of increasingly worsening potholes in Holderness Road and we have reported the issue to Suffolk County ...

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