Sugar - Sweet greetings from nature
Sugar is a natural in all plant types. Sugar is created from sun, water and carbon dioxide in a process called photosynthesis. Sun is the prime mover, so it would be fair to say that sugar is in a way stored solar energy.
Two plants contain more sugar than all others: sugar canes and sugar beets. They are also the only plants suitable for sugar extraction.
The far majority of sugar produced by Nordzucker Group stems from sugar beets. Beets are roots with green leaves. They grow directly in the soil, where they absorb water and key nutrients. The photosynthesis develops in the green leaves, generating and storing sugar in the root or beet. Beet sugar is saccharose, the same type as sugar extracted from sugar cane. Sugar beets mainly consist of water (75 %) and sugar (17-19 %) in addition to minerals, amino acids, polyphenols, vitamins, etc.
From beet to crystal
The sugar beets we use in our production are cultivated in the immediate vicinity of our sugar factories. Nordzucker cooperates closely with the beet growers with a view to ensuring high quality and safe, sustainable cultivation. Read more here.
Once the growers have harvested the beets, they are delivered to our sugar factories where sugar is extracted. Beets are washed, cut and poured into hot water. Hot water opens up the beet cells that contain the sugar, and the sugar flows into the water. The process creates a sugar juice, which we clean of non-sugar substances by first adding slaked lime and then carbon dioxide. Finally, we filter off the precipitated lime (chalk). The sugar factory produces its own slaked lime and carbon dioxide by burning limestone.
Next, we boil the cleaned sugar juice in large vats, allowing it to evaporate to reach a high sugar concentration. We add a small amount of icing sugar to make sugar crystallise from the juice. The sugar crystals are immersed in the juice from which they crystallised. We pour the substance into a centrifugal separator, in which a sieve retains the crystals while the juice is flung from the crystals. The result is the white granulated sugar we know. Once it dries, it is ready for spicing up consumers’ everyday life.
Did you know that …
One sugar beet can become 30 sugar cubes
By nature, sugar is bright white
The colour of brown cane sugar stems from a small layer of cane sugar juice on the sugar crystal surface
We produce more than 250 different sugar products
Nordzucker processes approx. 18 million tonnes of sugar beets annually
Sugar consumption in the Nordic region has largely remained stable since the 1960s