05 July 2012
Celebration of 100 Years of UK Beet Sugar Industry at Britain's first modern beet sugar factory
Today, British Sugar and the NFU were joined by over 50 representatives from across the industry to celebrate 100 Years of the UK Beet Sugar Industry at a commemorative event hosted at Cantley sugar factory.
A celebratory event was held to mark this significant milestone within the industry's history, which began in 1912 when the Cantley sugar factory was built and processed the first sugar beet crop. Today, Cantley sugar factory remains one of four beet processing factories, processing 7.5 million tonnes of beet from around 4,000 growers.
Gino De Jaegher, Managing Director, British Sugar, said: "The production of homegrown sugar plays a vital role within our local rural and agricultural economy, which was demonstrated today with so many representatives coming together from across the industry. We are all incredibly proud of this great British success story. The first harvest and factory campaign began a remarkable partnership between agriculture and the industry, with people being very much at the heart of our industry. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the NFU and growers to ensure our ongoing success as an advanced and sustainable manufacturer."
British Sugar and the NFU support the development of young people with initiatives such as the Sugar Industry Programme recognising young growers are the future of British agriculture, whilst British Sugar continues to invest in developing a multi-skilled workforce and recruiting and training graduates and apprentices to provide a future pipeline of managers.
William Martin, Chairman, NFU Sugar Board, said: "100 Years of the UK Beet Sugar Industry is a fantastic achievement and a great example of sustainable intensification in practice. The sugar beet crop has been a way of life for generations of farmers and over the years productivity has increased well beyond expectations and beyond progress of any other arable crop. By continuing to focus on research and driving innovation in the way in which we can improve our sugar beet growing, we can look forward to commemorating the next 100 years."
Sugar beet yields have been rising faster than those of any other UK arable crop - 60% since 1980*. The UK industry has made significant investments into process efficiencies, research and development with the industry contributing around £1 billion to the economy with the homegrown sugar supply chain supporting around 13,000 jobs.
*UK Beet Sugar Industry Sustainability Report 2011
British Sugar plc
Notes to editors:
British Sugar is a leading supplier to the British and Irish food and beverage market. The sole processor of the UK sugar beet crop, it produces more than 1 million tonnes of sugar in its 4 factories from around 7.5 million tonnes of sugar beet. The company was the first to manufacture Bioethanol in the UK at its Wissington site in Norfolk and seeks to turn all of its inputs into sustainable products.
Further information can be found at www.britishsugar.com.
NFU Sugar is the single entity that represents all sugar beet growers in the UK and negotiates on their collective behalf with the single processor (British Sugar plc). NFU performs a crucial role in Brussels and Whitehall advising and lobbying MPs and MEPs and influencing legislation on areas that matter most to beet growers.
Further information can be found at www.nfusugar.com.
Gino De Jaegher, Managing Director, British Sugar plc (above left) and William Martin, Chairman, NFU Sugar Board at the 100 Years of UK Beet Sugar Industry celebrations