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The beet sugar production enters Europe

Production of beet sugar dates back to the 18th century. At the end of the 18th century, a German scientist discovered that sugar beet possessed the same properties as sugar cane. His discovery paved the way for the European beet sugar industry.

The first beet sugar factory was founded in 1802 and was soon followed by many more. But with a sugar content of roughly 3% and high fuel costs there were significant start-up problems.

However, the development was assisted by Napoleon’s advance in Europe, during which Europe was cut off from importing cane sugar. For a brief period, beet sugar production was highly profitable in Europe. Following Napoleon's defeat, the blockade was lifted, and cane sugar could once again be imported to Europe.

However, the European beet sugar production could not compete with cane sugar prices, and only France – where the industry was heavily subsidised by Napoleon – continued production after 1828. In France, however, production capacity grew and developed considerably in the following decade. A new interest was created, and beet sugar production was re-established in Europe during the following decade.