Sugar processing hub 'proves commitment'

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union

Hough predicts consolidation of sugar producers
Hough predicts consolidation of sugar producers
A modern multi-million pound sugar processing hub at Immingham, near Hull, and new sourcing deals in Mauritius and East Africa are proof of the Real Good Food Company’s (RGFC’s) commitment to servicing food manufacturers and growing its business, bosses have insisted.

The firm – which owns sugar company Napier Brown – says the new Immingham site will supply manufacturers across the length of the M62.

It predicted demand of around 500,000t a year in this area alone.

Speaking at the firm’s AGM in London last month, Peter Hough, sugar sourcing director, said the new site would take sugar from containers arriving from Rotterdam. He added it had the flexibility to quickly unload a range of package sizes – from 25t bagging boxes down to one tonne bags – onto a vehicle and out to customers.

“This shows our customers we’re serious about importing sugar and meeting their needs,”​ said Hough.

Many challenges

While the new facility will help with UK distribution, Hough conceded there were many challenges when it came to sourcing the sugar on the global markets, with worldwide consumption levels increasing by around 2Mt a year.

With EU sugar quotas ending in 2017, Hough is predicting greater consolidation of European sugar producers.

Napier Brown is novel in that it is not a sugar producer or refiner, meaning if it wants to grow its sugar supply business, it has to source greater volumes.

In order to compete with the EU producers, the firm is targeting imports from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries – which have the added benefit of an absence of import duties.

It has recently linked up with refiner Omnicane – with the firm's chief executive Jacques d'Unienville being appointed to the RGFC board – to gain access to its operations in Mauritius and East Africa.

Additional opportunities

“We have a diverse, but finite source of cane and beet, so additional opportunities, such as those with Omnicane, are being explored,”​ added Hough.

Shareholders at the AGM were also told that RGFC profits rose by 24% to £10.5M this year.

The food group, which also owns bakery ingredient brands Renshaw and R&W Scott, Garrett Ingredients, which supplies goods to the dairy sector, and Haydens Bakery, which manufactures patisserie and desserts, is forecasting similar growth for the next 12 months.

RGFC chairman Pieter Totté said the success stemmed from the group now running each business as a “distinct unit” and a “commercially driven” strategy that was pushing its own brands' profits such as Whitworth sugar and baking products and R&W Scott jams.

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