BBQ Time, so let’s get saucy!

May 31 2018

Here at Ragus we love BBQ time as we supply many of the leading sauces, chutney and condiments manufacturers with their pure sugars for taste, texture and appearance.

Did you know that many savoury cooking sauces, glazes and marinades contain molasses and treacle supplied directly from Ragus; but what are they and what is the difference? Many people are confused by the difference between molasses and treacle; but for all intents and purposes, they are the same.

The British generic name for any syrup made during the refining of sugar cane or sugar beet is known as ‘Treacle’. Therefore, theoretically, treacle, black treacle and molasses are all classed as treacle.  However, there is a technical difference between molasses and treacle.

Molasses is the thick syrup obtained during the sugar refining process.  Firstly, juice is extracted from crushing sugar cane or sugar beets. The juice is then boiled down to extract as much sucrose as possible from raw sugar, this forms sugar crystals, which are then removed from the liquid leaving a thick brown syrup, that is Molasses. It has a strong, robust bittersweet flavour.

Ragus is one of the world's leading pure sugar manufacturers. It sources raw sugar from across the world to manufacture sugars, syrups and special formulations from its advanced UK factory. Ragus ships its sugars globally, delivering on-time and in-full to customers across the baking, brewing, confectionary, and pharmaceutical industries

 

Treacle is made from the syrup obtained during the first boilings of the sugarcane or sugar beets, which has a higher sucrose content compared to subsequent boilings. The most well known variant is black treacle, which has a more rounded smoother flavour profile than molasses.

Molasses and treacle are used for flavouring, sweetening and colouring so many foods including gingerbread, toffee, fruit cakes, confectionery, biscuits, Christmas pudding, cooking sauces, marinades and glazes to name but a few.

At Ragus we produce tailor-made products; we can formulate molasses and treacle to your exact requirements. Please check out our online product finder for more information: http://ragus.co.uk/product-finder/

So here is a delicious sticky BBQ sauce just for you using Ragus Black Treacle:

STICKY BBQ SAUCE RECIPE

Ingredients
Serves: 10

– 2 tbsp Ragus Black Treacle

– 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

– 125g Tomato Sauce

– 125ml Water

– 1 tbsp White Wine Vinegar

– 1 tbsp Wholegrain Mustard

– 1 tbsp Ragus Light Brown Soft Sugar

– 1/2 teaspoon Salt

– 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco Pepper Sauce

– 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Granules

– 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

Method
Prep: 5 mins             Cook:15 mins           Extra time: 8hr chilling

1.Beat all the ingredients together in a saucepan over a medium heat.

2. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

3. Remove from heat and allow to completely cool.

4. Pour into a glass jar and refrigerate, uncovered, for 8 hours or overnight to allow the flavours to blend correctly.

 

No responses yet

Vanilla Price Rise: Vanilla Ice Cream to meet a Frosty End!

May 22 2018

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream… that’s certainly the case when the sun is shining and the temperatures are rising.  You would think that ice cream vendors and manufacturers are reaping the rewards of this glorious heat wave, however the truth is far more chilling.

Nowadays there is an abundance of ice cream flavours from liquorice to bubble gum, to strawberry cheesecake to nutty toffee, yet us Brits still seem to love just plain vanilla in our cones.  As customers we don’t bat an eyelid when we hand over £2-3 for a scoop in a cone, but punters could be in for a shock this summer as this cool vanilla treat is about to get more expensive.  Plus it gets worse as ice cream manufacturers, restaurateurs and sellers are now considering taking vanilla ice cream off the menu.

Ragus produce a wide range of Pure Sugar products at its world-leading sugar manufacturing site in the UK, including sugars, refiner’s syrups, treacle and Molasses. Ragus’ manufacturing site produces hundreds of tonnes of sugars and syrups each day, all manufactured to the highest quality to ensure customers’ specifications are met.

 

Why such chilling price increases? Well, it comes down to the soaring price of vanilla pods which currently stand at between £500-600 per kilo, this now makes it the second most expensive spice in the world, after saffron, and more expensive than silver per kilo!

The rise in price is the combination of an increase in global demand for the spice, food manufacturers, alongside restaurants, perfume makers, household product producers, to name but a few, all want to use natural vanilla flavouring; it’s such a versatile produce. Plus, 80% of the world’s vanilla supplies are grown in Madagascar, but with the drought and crop disease in recent years, added to the aftermath of Cyclone Enawo where around 30% of the crop was damaged, farmers are struggling to keep up with the demand.

It takes up to 5 years for a vanilla vine to mature and the process of drying out the pods is very time consuming, which has resulted in many farmers giving up their businesses, as the return isn’t worth the time spent on harvesting the product. Those farmers who do cultivate the spice are also under constant pressure to protect their harvests from criminal gangs who are now stealing the crops. Add to that the fact that farmers are picking the pods too early, in their immature stages, to keep up the high demand, means the quality of seeds is poor.

Combining all these factors has resulted in this huge surge of prices as food manufacturers are struggling to obtain the spice at economic prices.  Already popular London Ice Cream Parlour, ‘Ruby Violet’ has had to remove vanilla ice cream from its menu due to the increased prices.  Is this the first of many… only the coming months will tell!

Ragus work closely with food manufacturers to supply liquid sugars and invert syrups, which are both used for sweetening and bulking ice cream, while also attracting flavours and increasing the scoopability by depressing the freezing point of ice creams.

Ragus are renowned for our world-class customer services and with over 100 years experience, we are experts in our field. We provide the complete package, from globally sourcing the best and most sustainable sources of beet and pure cane sugar, to manufacturing a huge range of sugar products including liquid sugars and inverts, to delivering on time and in full, supplying in a variety of bulk sizes.  Ragus supply artisan food producers to well-known blue chip global brands.  If you are looking for a tailor-made product, we can formulate sugars and syrups to your exact requirements, just contact our team as sales@ragus.co.uk

No responses yet

Record Global Sugar Output In 2017/18

May 17 2018

Market Position

As predicted in our last report in November, La Nina effect has created excessive rains in Europe, delaying sugar beet planting and created dryness in Brazil which is starting to affect sugar cane development. Sugar prices in late April traded at 10.69 c/lb compared with 14 c/lb in November, 17 c/lb in May 2017 and 20.5 c/lb in November 2016. Contributing factors to the falling sugar prices are a result of a global surplus, falling Brazilian ethanol prices, a weaker Brazilian currency and a realisation of bigger crops in both India and Thailand. With a record Indian 2017/18 crop producing 31.2 mln tonnes of sugar, with further increases predicted for the 18/19 crop, Indian exports will continue to flow (with or without a subsidy) to prevent lower domestic prices, leading to cane arrears and the potential for angry farmers in a government election year. With the potential flood of Indian sugar onto the world market, many producers are yet to announce their prices, adding to a more bearish market. Tereos director of their Brazilian unit, Jacyr Costa Filhohas quoted Reuters saying that 90% of the world’s sugar producers are producing below the cost of production at today’s current prices and that traded prices would need to increase to 15-16 c/lb for Brazilian mills to be reasonably profitable.   Global sugarcane production for 2017/18 peaked at 155.6 mln tonnes, compared to the previous record in 13/14 of 146.3 mln tonnes. 2018/19 sugarcane production may fall back to 152 mln tonnes as a result of the expected fall in Brazilian output. Global sugar production for 18/19 is estimated to fall by 4.9 mln tonnes to 196.2 mln tonnes, but would remain the second largest ever after 2017/18 record production of 201.1 mln tonnes.

Pure sugar produced by Ragus. Ragus is one of the world's leading pure sugarmanufacturers. It sources raw sugar from across the world to manufacture sugars, syrups and special formulations from its advanced UK factory. Ragus ships its sugars globally, delivering on-time and in-full to customers across the brewing, baking, confectionary, and pharmaceutical industries

Europe

The beet producing areas of Europe have experienced increased rainfall which delayed planting in March, but improved weather in April saw most of the beets sown. The subsequent high temperatures in May has allowed for rapid beet development which may offset the late start. Early estimates for the 2018/19 crop is for the EU to produce 20 mln tonnes of beet sugar.  Future EU beet yields from the 19/20 crop onwards may be threatened as a result of a change in policy over the use of Neonicotinoids, a widely used insecticide, which are used to protect the crop against pests. Farmers have indicated that crop yields could drop by 12% across the EU, with the potential of a 50% decrease in ocean climate zones. Greenpeace EU food policy director has stated that yields of Rapeseed have not declined since the ban for the crop in 2013. As we come to the end of the half way stage in the first post-quota season, total white sugar exports for the first six months of the 2017/18 crop has been 1.820 mln tonnes. The EU exported 1.328 mln tonnes of white sugar in 16/17 with the commission predicting exports to rise to 2.8 mln tonnes in 17/18. This compares with total sugar imports into the EU for the first six months at 662,000 tonnes, compared with 1.140 mln tonnes a year ago.

Russia & Ukraine

Russia and the Ukraine experienced the same cold and wet weather as the EU countries in March, delaying beet sowing, with Russia only managing to plant 39% of their target area by the end of April. Ukraine managed to plant 84% of the targeted area by the end of April, with an estimated 5% reduction in planted area for the 2018/19 crop.

Brazil

Harvesting of the 2018/19 cane crop began in late April. The dry weather has allowed millers to crush at a high pace, but the dry conditions could slow the cane development. This is of major concern as the dry season is yet to come. With soil moisture much lower than average, this could damage the canes that are scheduled to be harvested later in the crop at the year end. Despite the recent drop in hydrous prices, fuel remains more profitable to millers than sugar. The latest estimate for the 18/19 sugar production is 31 mln tonnes, which is 5 mln tonnes less than in 17/18. This reduction will reflect in lower export availability in an already oversupplied world market. The sugar mills are currently incentivised to produce for the strong ethanol market, compared to the oversupplied sugar market, but with Brazilian election this year, the Brazilian currency may decide where millers will sell their product.

Thailand

Harvesting the tail of the 2017/18 cane crop which began in late November will continue into May. Ideal growing conditions in 2017 has resulted in a record crop after two years of drought, with estimates at 14.3 mln tonne of sugar, compared to 10.2 mln tonnes in 16/17. The rainy season has just begun, receiving above normal levels. Good rains now will benefit cane yields for the next crop in 18/19. Sugar production has focused on raws rather than whites, due to the limited capacity of the centrifuges and boilers to make white sugar from raws and the local market also serves as an additional outlet for white sugar, allowing raws to be exported. China has also become a declining market for Thai white sugar as a result of high stocks in neighbouring countries and more stringent border controls.

India

The 2017/18 sugar cane crop is estimated to produce 31.2 mln tonnes and with a record cane acreage for 18/19, India is estimated to produce a further 2 mln tonne of sugar over the current crop. A good 2018 monsoon season will determine the country’s future output potential. This has resulted in a downward trend for domestic Indian sugar prices which are now $100/t below world market prices. These lower sugar prices mean that millers are unable to provide cane payments resulting in high cane arrears. The government last Wednesday announced the anticipated cane subsidy to farmers, of 55 INR/t in the form of direct payments, this subsidy will aid the mills by clearing a portion of cane arrears owed to the farmers, which will encourage mills to export the allocated quota of 2 mln tonnes.

Southern Africa

South Africa which has suffered droughts since 2014/15, saw sugar production fall to only 1.6 mln tonnes in 16/17. Improved rainfall saw the cane crop recover in 17/18 with sugar production rising to 2.1 mln tonnes. Estimates for the 18/19 crop are similar to last year’s output. In Swaziland good rainfall at the start of the year was critical to cane development and allowed farmers to re-plant cane following the recovery of the 2016 drought. As a result, a 6% rise in production is expected. Cane deliveries to the mills began earlier this month in Zimbabwe, with sugar production expected to increase by more than 22% as a result of land reforms. Growers are experiencing increased output due to irrigation from the recently built Tugwi-Mukosi dam. African cane sugar production in 2017/18 was 9.5 mln tonnes and is expected to rise to 10.2 mln tonnes in 18/19.

Australia

Harvesting the 2018/19 crop is expected to start in June following a slight delay after the tropical cyclone Iris hit the northern Queensland province. Increasingly farmers are looking at other crops such as rice, due to Australia’s exposure to exporting onto the world market (low global prices) and lack of suitable land that is close to the sugar mills. Cyclones and drought affected the 17/18 crop, although rains later in the year allowed for some recovery, so sugar production finished at 4.7 mln tonnes the same as in the previous season. Estimates for the 2018/19 crop is to produce 5.0 mln tonnes of sugar.

Mexico/USA

The Mexican government has lowered its estimate for the 2017/18 cane crop which is nearing completion to 5.98 mln tonnes, down from earlier predictions of 6.2 mln tonnes. This will not affect exported sugar to the US as the quota of 1.7 mln tonnes will be achieved. Estimates for the 18/19 cane crop are similar to this year due to a stable planted area. The USDA has adjusted its estimate for the total sugar production of the 2017/18 cane and beet crops at 9.14 mln tonnes. The first projection for the 18/19 crop will be released later this month, with total sown sugar beet area about 2% lower compared to this time last year due to cold and wet conditions, although phenomenal progress with planting has occurred in the last two weeks. However, the lateness leaves the beets vulnerable to drought stress through the summer months. Sugarcane production is estimated to hardly change for 2018/19 at 3.6 mln tonnes.

China

The government is expecting an increase in sugar production to 10.6 mln tonnes, an increase of 4.2%, as a result of increased planted area for the 17/18 crop. Beet sugar production increased 56% over the last three seasons and reached 1.3 mln tonnes in 2017/18. There has been much investment in cultivation, mechanisation and new modern factories being built to help boost production. This could outweigh the increase in consumption as the demand for high fructose corn syrup remains strong. China is expected to import 3.2 mln tonnes of sugar, a slight increase over the 2.29 mln tonnes imported in 16/17.

 

No responses yet

Royal Wedding Cake Recipe Time

May 14 2018

Lemon and elderflower cake will fast become a favourite amongst bakers this year as it’s been announced that Claire Ptak, owner of Violet Bakery in East London, has been given the royal task of creating this delicious flavoured cake for the upcoming wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on 19th May 2018.

www.ragus.co.uk prides itself in its long British heritage of supplying pure sugars as ingredients for bakers and dessert manufacturers, so we have put together a simple lemon and elderflower loaf recipe just for you. You can now recreate your own version of the Royal wedding cake to eat, while watching the nuptials take place!

Fun Royal wedding cake facts:

– Did you know that the Royals introduced cake figurines; Victoria and Albert’s wedding cake was the first to be decorated with figures of the bride and groom.

– Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding cake was rumoured to cost £58,000!

– Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding cake was five-foot high, weighed 18 stone!

 

Lemon & Elderflower Drizzle Loaf

 Ingredients

For the cake:

4 medium free-range eggs – should weigh approx. 7oz ***

7oz self-raising flour

7oz softened baking margarine/unsalted soft butter

7oz Ragus golden caster sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

2 tbsp. elderflower cordial

Zest of 2 lemons

*** Eggs should be equal weight to flour, sugar and margarine

For the drizzle:

Juice of 1 strained lemon

30ml water

1.5 tbsp elderflower cordial

2.5oz Ragus golden caster sugar

***TOP TIP – Can spread the mixture into muffin cases for individual cakes.

For the decoration:

Thinly shredded lemon rind

Edible flowers

 

Cooking method

1. Preheat oven to gas 4, 180°C, 160°C fan.

2. Grease and line a loaf tin.

3. Blend together the flour and baking powder.

4. Mix the sugar, butter, elderflower cordial and lemon zest together into a creamy fluffy consistency.

5. Add the eggs, mixing all the time.

6. Fold in the flour and baking powder until all ingredients are mixed smoothly.

7. Spoon mixture into loaf tin and level out.

8. Bake for 30minutes or until cooked – check at regular intervals.

9. Remove your baked loaf and cool on a wire rack.

10. While loaf is baking you can start creating the drizzle.

11. Place the lemon juice, water, cordial and sugar into a saucepan and gently heat until the sugar has dissolved.

12. While the loaf is still warm, make lots of little holes in the cake using a skewer.

13. Drizzle the lemon and elderflower liquid over the cake making sure you have covered the whole cake.  Some of the liquid will seep into the holes you have created to add texture and more flavour to the cake.

14. To decorate use edible flowers and lemon zest.

15. Eat and enjoy!

No responses yet

Palm Oil, What’s The Issue?

May 09 2018

Palm oil is literally everywhere you look, it can be found in the majority of products we all use on a daily basis; from confectionery, baking goods, cosmetics and toiletries to cleaning agents and fuel, to name but a few.

Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from the fruit of certain palms. Originally, these palm trees came from west and southwest Africa, but in the late 19th and early 20th centuries they were introduced to Indonesia and Malaysia; areas where there is an abundance of hot weather mixed with high rainfall levels.

Tens of millions of tonnes of palm oil is produced every single year, which accounts for over a third of the world’s vegetable oil production.  Palm trees are a very land efficient commodity; they can produce 4-10 times more oil per hectare of land than any other oil crop.

Currently almost 90% of the world’s palm oil is produced in Indonesia and Malaysia. Indonesia’s oil palm plantations already expand over nine million hectares and that figure is estimated to rise to a massive 26 million hectares by 2025.

However, the environmental impact of using palm oil is now a topical debate. Deforestation is one of the major concerns; research shows that today, rainforest areas the equivalent of 300 football fields are being bulldozed and set alight every hour to plant more palm trees. Thus a huge amount of carbon is released into the atmosphere and consequently, Indonesia is the world’s fifth largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Also along with the increased deforestation brings problems for local inhabitants, nature and endangered species.

Sourcing, Sourcing is at the heart of Ragus' business: it sources sugar beet from Europe and travels the world from Africa to the Caribbean to South America and the Pacific countries to find the best, most reliable, and sustainably produced, sources of cane sugar. The sugar is manufactured by Ragus at its UK plant into a range of pure sugars, syrups and special formulations

 

Obviously industry manufacturers are at an economical advantage as palm oil is cheap and versatile. Plus more than 3 million smallholders and small-scale farmers make a living from palm oil globally, but the environmental factors need to be addressed before it’s too late.

Food retail giant Iceland has this month pledged that it would remove all palm oil from its own branded products by the close of 2018; it is the first major supermarket to ban the oil.  “Until such a time as there is genuinely sustainable palm oil that contains zero deforestation, we are saying no to palm oil,” explained Iceland managing director Richard Walker.

Co-op has also moved into using palm oil, which is certified as sustainable according to the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). However, not all supermarkets are taking the same steps; according to RSPO, Tesco uses 16,000 tonnes of palm oil in it’s own branded products per year and Sainsbury uses 10,000 tonnes.

Figures show that the use of palm oil will keep rising over time, however the good news is that European Parliament recently called for an EU scheme to make sure only sustainable palm oil enters the EU market.

At www.ragus.co.uk we are fully aware of the social, environmental and ethical impacts when sourcing our specialized products and are constantly interested in all aspects of the food and drink industry from sourcing to manufacturing in order to keep up to date with the latest industry news and trends.

No responses yet

Texture is the new Food Trend for 2018

May 02 2018

According to the latest report from Mintel, the leading market intelligence agency, engaging the senses through the use of textures in food and drink is the new secret trend of 2018.

Both food and drink manufacturers and consumers are recognising the importance of new experiences that foods and drinks can offer. The texture of what we eat, whether its ice cream, chocolate, cakes or bread, to name but a few, greatly affects our enjoyment of food.

Manufacturing, Ragus produce a wide range of Pure Sugar products at its world-leading sugar manufacturing site in the UK, including sugars, refiner’s syrups, treacle and Molasses. Ragus’ manufacturing site produces hundreds of tonnes of sugars and syrups each day, all manufactured to the highest quality to ensure customers’ specifications are met.

 

Yes, food manufacturers, professionals, food scientists and chefs all realise that consumers obsess over flavours, but they also know that flavour alone, is not enough for consumers today. Sound, feel and the overall satisfaction that textures can bring to the palette will provide consumers with new experiences that can be shared with others.

Texture in food is becoming big business all over the world. According to Mario Francesco Batali, the American chef, writer, restaurateur and media personality using the word ‘crispy’ on a menu encourages people to order that dish faster than any other “clever adjective!”

20% of food and drink launched in Europe last year had a texture description, according to Mintel, that’s a rise from 17% in 2016. Texture can refer to those features of a food or drink that can be felt with the fingers, tongue, teeth or palate. All food have different textures, they can be crunchy, crispy, chewy, creamy, hard or soft and so on.

From a sensory point of view, the texture of a particular food is evaluated when it’s being chewed in the mouth, and the physical sensations it brings to your teeth and tongue; a term know as ‘mouthfeel’.

In Mintel’s report on Global Food and Drink Trends 2018, they say that “texture is the next facet of formulation that can be leveraged to provide consumers with interactive and documentation worthy experiences.” Their research shows that European consumers are open to trying new unusual textures in their food and drink. 37% of Spanish, 36% of Polish, 26% of French and 22% of German and 22% Italian consumers express interest in trying food and drink products with different and unique textures.

Some products that have been introduced to the consumer markets over the past year include soft drinks containing “juicy liquid jelly pieces”, chocolate biscuits with popping candy and ice creams containing candy pieces and biscuit chunks.

Mintel revels that in Germany, 40% of consumers would be open to using “cooking sauces that bring different textures to a meal”. Plus, 48% of Germans have already tried and enjoyed chocolate with unique textures.

Moving forward, it is important for food and drink manufacturers all over the world to start thinking and developing ways of creating exciting and unique new products that will turn ordinary foods and drinks into a magical and marvellous party in the mouths of their consumers. After all, the population is already expecting their food choices to appeal to a wider range of senses and this will only increase over time.

As Mintel’s Global Food and Drink analyst Kayta Williams says, “Texture will only become a more prominent feature in food and drink innovation in Europe. It is an especially important component for consumers who want a more tangible and interactive consumption experience. Products that appeal to multiple senses can provide consumers with escapes from the routine and stress of life, opportunities to make memories and generate share-worthy social media posts. The sound, feel and satisfaction provided by texture make it a trend to watch in 2018 and beyond.”

Here at Ragus we have recently launched our new ‘Product Finder’, an innovative online tool that will transform the way manufacturers source their pure sugar ingredients; it is a tool that offers the chance to formulate unique and bespoke products for ingredients.

This easy to use online facility provides useful guidance and information on the extensive Ragus manufactured range of functional sugar products and how they contribute to the appearance, taste and texture of foods, drinks and pharmaceuticals.

With the Ragus ‘Product Finder’ you can filter through over 50 different pure sugars to find the right crystalline sugars, syrups and treacles for your industry and your consumer products.

Take a look at http://ragus.co.uk/product-finder/
For all enquiries please contact sales@ragus.co.uk

No responses yet