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A positive future for the UK beet sugar industry

20 February 2017


New opportunities as European quotas lifted

  • UK beet sugar industry critical to rural and agricultural economy and British Sugar are one of the most efficient processors of sugar worldwide
  • Lifting of EU sugar production quotas offers opportunities to increase beet sugar production by 50% annually
  • 60% of the UK’s sugar market is served from British farms
  • The British beet sugar value chain supports up to 9,500 jobs in the UK economy, partners with 3,500 growers and directly employs a skilled workforce of 1,400
  • Over 90% of employees working in beet processing factories are paid above average earnings

The lifting of European Union (EU) sugar quotas in October 2017 and leaving of the EU, offers exciting opportunities for great British businesses and industries, such as British Sugar and the wider UK beet sugar industry.

Speaking ahead of the National Farmers Union (NFU) conference, Paul Kenward, Managing Director of British Sugar said: “We are one of Britain’s most globally competitive industries and we are ready to work with farmers, importers and government to design a UK sugar policy that allows our world-leading domestic sugar industry to continue to thrive”.

Paul Kenward’s comments coincide with the publication of a new report ‘British Sugar: A homegrown success story’ outlining the significant contribution the UK beet sugar industry makes to the communities in which it operates. Currently, British Sugar partners with 3,500 growers, employs 1,400 people and supports a further 9,500 skilled jobs across the UK. This homegrown success story supplies 60% of the UK’s sugar market.

He continued: “Over the past 100 years we have built a world-class UK beet sugar industry, contributing to local economies and communities, and benefiting UK plc. Our investment of £250 million over the past five years has made our factories the most efficient in the world. Beet sugar yields in the UK have improved by more than 25% in the last ten years. Our focus on improving efficiency and reducing waste has led to a range of co-products. We generate enough electricity to power a city the size of Peterborough; we produce up to 70 million litres of Bioethanol annually; and used our topsoil to landscape the Olympic Park”.

Commenting on the future success of the sugar beet industry, William Martin, Chairman of NFU Sugar said: “The dismantlement of the EU Sugar regime and Brexit will present opportunities for arable farmers in the beet growing areas of the UK, but the real opportunities will come from beet growers and British Sugar working in partnership to maximize the returns from the market place in a new commercial environment”.




Notes to editors:

For press enquiries contact:

Sharon Fisher, Group Communications Manager, AB Sugar:
Tel: +44 (0)1733 422276
Email: sharon.fisher@absugar.com

  • The report, ‘British Sugar: A homegrown success story’ can be downloaded here
  • British Sugar is the leading supplier to the British and Irish food and beverage markets. We operate four advanced manufacturing plants across East Anglia and the East Midlands (Bury St Edmunds, Cantley, Newark and Wissington). Further information can be found at www.britishsugar.com.
  • British Sugar is part of AB Sugar, which is wholly owned by international food, ingredients and retail group, Associated British Foods plc. More information on AB Sugar can be found at: www.absugar.com
  • Listen to a special edition podcast from The Spectator Brexit may be sweet featuring Paul Kenward, Managing Director of British Sugar (Sponsor), Michael Sly, farmer and Vice-Chairman of the NFU Sugar Board and Philip De Pass of the London Sugar Group which represents LDC/ACP countries.
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