Up to 8.9m tonnes of sugar beet were processed through British Sugar’s four factories over the 2017/18 campaign, with the final average yield of 83.4 tonnes per hectare of beet. This was up from the previous record of 79.8 tonnes in 2014.
The result has been an increase in yields of 25% in the past ten years and, this year, many growers saw yields of over 100 tonnes per hectare.
Paul Kenward, managing director of British Sugar, said: “This has been a long and challenging campaign for our growers, our supply chain and our four factories.
“I am hugely proud of the record yields we’ve seen from our home-grown sugar beet and we continue to be one of the most efficient sugar industries in the world. However, we simply couldn’t do it without our 3,500 growers and the 9,500 people who work across our supply chain.”
The increases in yields were driven through the work of the British Beet Research Organisation – an entity jointly funded by British Sugar and sugar beet growers to promote a focused, partnership approach to productivity improvement.
Kenward added: “We are processing the same amount of sugar beet today with four factories as we were 20 years ago with ten, a result of investing in our factories to make them even more efficient. We’ll now focus on getting ready for the next campaign and making further improvements.”
British Sugar is part of AB Sugar, a subsidiary of Associated British Foods. Bagged sugar from home-grown sugar beet is sold to consumers in the UK under the Silver Spoon brand, as well as many supermarket own-label brands. About 1.38m of sugar was produced in the past year.
Meanwhile, in February, importer and manufacturer of sugar products Ragus Pure Sugars celebrated a decade of continued carbon reductions, thanks to its partnership with a global steam specialist.