Research and Development

British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO)

The BBRO is a non-profit making company funded jointly by British Sugar and UK beet growers, which commissions and communicates research to increase the competitiveness and profitability of the UK beet industry in a sustainable and environmentally acceptable manner.

Assisted by the BBRO, UK beet farmers have reduced their usage of nitrogen fertiliser by more than 40% since 1980. Sugar beet now has the lowest nitrogen usage of any major arable crop in the UK, including cereals, oilseed rape and potatoes. Current projects include determining the performance of new seed varieties, crop physiology and nutrition, control of pests, diseases and weeds, biodiversity, harvesting, storage and soil management.

Sugar Nutrition UK

British Sugar supported Sugar Nutrition UK for the past 50 years, but on the 30 November 2016 the not-for-profit organisation was closed following the decision by its members to withdraw funding.  As a member, British Sugar, a subsidiary of AB Sugar, was increasingly aware that rising health problems such as obesity and other non-communicable diseases are global health problems; with varying contributing factors and considerations.

In this context and wishing to adapt and inform workable solutions for global health issues, AB Sugar has continually recognised the importance of evolving their businesses research commitments and wider activities to build thriving and healthy communities.

AB Sugar continues to work towards an international approach in respect of funding research and themes across all aspects of their businesses.  They remain a member of the international scientific organisation, the World Sugar Research Organisation (WSRO), whose objective is to monitor and communicate research on the role of sugar in nutrition and health.  They also continue to provide unrestricted educational grants which can aid in finding real and workable solutions to health issues in the countries in which they operate.

At British Sugar, we remain fully committed to finding real and workable solutions to the UK obesity crisis as well as helping to educate and inform people about the role sugar can play in the diet with our Making Sense of Sugar campaign, launched in 2014.   In addition, we continue to work together with AB Sugar in providing unrestricted educational grants in the UK as part of our Making Sense of Sugar campaign.  Recent examples have included:

  • Providing 2020health with two unrestricted educational grants which resulted in the research reports – “Fat Chance? Exploring the evidence on who is obese” (November 2015) and “Careless Eating Costs Lives” (October 2014). The research was carried out independently by the think tank, with all of the content, conclusions and views being those of the authors alone.  All details on the reports can be found at:

  • Funding has also been provided to the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) to undertaken an impact assessment of its education work in schools, which is based on the government’s ‘Eatwell Guide’ and eight tips for healthy eating.

British Sugar also continues to monitor new developments in the areas of sugar and health to urge public health authorities and other experts to evaluate all current, relevant science when making public health recommendations.  We also keep up to date on new research and welcome any new evidence that informs us all on the potential effects of sugar on the human body as we have a role in presenting the current science and facts about sugar in an accurate way which is simple, straightforward and informative.

The Sugar Nutrition UK team has contributed to the evolving scientific understanding on sugar and health over the past 50 years; therefore if  you would like further information on the work undertaken or would like a list of research that was commissioned and published since 2012, please contact

Sugar beet growing in field

sample pots, pellets and pills in drum bowl