Peterborough-based British Sugar is enjoying the sweet taste of success after producing more sugar than ever before.
Record figures released by the company based in Sugar Way, Woodston, show it produced 8.9 million tonnes of sugar beet in its year 2017/18.
The beet was processed through British Sugar’s four factories in Newark, Bury St Edmunds, Cantly and Wissington.
Its final average yield was 83.4 tonnes per hectare of beet - well above the previous record of 79.8 tonnes.
The yield is even higher than that produced 20 years ago when British Sugar was operating from 10 factories.
Paul Kenward, managing director of British Sugar, which employs 200 staff in Peterborough, said: “This has been a long and challenging campaign for our growers, our supply chain and our four factories.
“I am hugely proud of the record yields we’ve seen from our homegrown sugar beet and we continue to be one of the most efficient sugar industries in the world. However, we simply couldn’t do it without our 3,500 growers and the 9,500 people who work across our supply chain.
“We are processing the same amount of sugar beet today with four factories as we were 20 years ago with 10, as a result of investing in our factories to make them even more efficient.
“We’ll now focus on getting ready for the next campaign and making further improvements.”
The results come six months after European quota rules were axed allowing British Sugar to grow and sell as much sugar as it wants.
At the time Mr Kenward said: “It gives us an opportunity to grow and prosper with no limit on the amount of sugar we can sell in the UK, Europe and around the world.
“Sugar quotas abolition will benefit consumers, and also our growers.”
British Sugar says the increases have been driven through the work of the British Beet Research Association (BBRO) – jointly funded by British Sugar and sugar beet growers – which has played a key role in driving a focused, partnership approach to productivity improvement.
The result has been an increase in yields of 25 per cent in the last 10 years and this year many growers have seen yields of over 100 tonnes per hectare.