PLANT-BASED FOOD SEES A HEALTHY GROWTH

Jun 25 2018

Every year we see new food and drink trends appearing in the industry. 2018 is tipped to be the year of multisensory food and drink as consumers want textured food which appeals to their sensors, and now we’re approaching the middle of the year a new trend is becoming more apparent; a plant-based food trend is taking the food and drink industry by storm.

Plant-based diets are often shown to be good for health and already supermarkets are, and have been stocking some plant-based food and drinks for years, such as Quorn, Alpro and Cauldron products to name but a few, but now other major companies are eager to jump on the plant-based band wagon.

The worlds largest food and drink company Nestle, now wants in on the action with its launch, last month, of their Garden Gourmet range. Consisting of 12 different products including meat-free burgers, mince and beetroot falafels. UK Food Division MD Paula Jordan says, “We find that people want to enjoy a healthier diet and try to eat less meat, but they are sometimes disappointed with the taste. (The Garden Gourmet brand will) “revoluntionise the vegetarian category.”

But why the big craze? Research shows that a plant-based diet brings numerous health and well-being benefits, as it’s packed with nutrients, plus it’s also good for the environment.

The Plant Based Food Association reveal that by producing plant-based meat alternatives is better for the environment; they generate 10 x fewer greenhouse gas emissions than when beef-based products are produced. Plus Professor Peter Scarborough, University Research Lecturer and Environmental Sustainability Programme Leader, conducted a study, which revealed that plant-based eaters contribute almost half as much dietary greenhouse gases as meat-eaters, once again helping the environment.

According to Mintel research agency, 36% of consumers have or do buy plant-based meats on a regular basis and a survey conducted by 210 Analytics reveals that 60% of millennials prefer to consume plant-based meats. Likewise, according to Nielsen, cow’s milk sales declined by 5% in 2017, while the plant-based milk category has grown 3.1%; since 2013 almond milk sales have grown by over 250%.

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

Yes, it’s proven that these plant-based diets are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and nutrients that help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of illnesses such as diabetes. Plus it can help maintain a healthy weight, which is turn could lower the risk of heart disease. Yet, it is also important that other foods and drinks containing additional sources are consumed with a plant-based diet to maintain a healthy body and digestive system. The major risks associated with a plant-based diet include inadequate protein intake, and mineral and vitamin deficiencies.

Interestingly sugar beet fibre (Fibrex) is used in many of these plant-based fibres; Fibrex is a dietary fibre product derived from sugar beet. Sugar beets consist of about 75% water, 18% sugar and approximately 5% cell walls. After the sugar is extracted, the remaining cell wall material, which is the sugar beet pulp, is then used to produce the sugar beet fibre/Fibrex.

Plus many of these meat-free alternative meals contain pure sugars, molasses and glucose syrups as part of their ingredients for taste, texture and appearance, all of which are products that can be supplied by Ragus. We are specialists in high quality natural pure sugars, from raw cane sugar to specialist glucose-sugar blends. For more information or if you need pure sugars as ingredients then contact sales@ragus.co.uk

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RAGUS – INSIDE THE FACTORY

Jun 14 2018

Ragus are a specialist sugar producer with a heritage that dates back over 100 years; Ragus’ founder invented golden syrup. We are dedicated to the sugar industry and we travel the globe to source sustainable sugar, and from our advanced UK sugar manufacturing facility, produce a wide range of pure sugar products.

After major investment in a new factory at the end of 2012, our UK facility is one of the world’s most advanced sugar manufacturing sites, producing hundreds of tonnes of sugars and syrups each day – from unrefined demerara sugars, to refiners syrups, molasses and treacles, to blends incorporating glucose syrups. These include highly specialised custom formulations created by our sugar experts to meet customer demands.

As a company we are 100% committed to sourcing the best sugar cane and sugar beet from around the globe, our pure sugar products are manufactured to the highest quality and our customer service is world-renowned. Our commitment to our clients goes beyond expectation and likewise with our employees we strive to make their working environment an efficient and positive environment; after all a happy work environment encourages the people who work for you to do the best for the company.

Bearing this in mind I would like to introduce you to our Factory Manager Mel Boyle, he’s been with Ragus for 13 years so I’ve interviewed him to bring you some insights into his experiences of working for the UK’s No 1 specialist sugar manufacturer.

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

 

What is it like working for Ragus?
“Challenging!” The business never stays still; it is constantly developing and changing. I’ve worked in the factory for 13 years and it changes all the time because the business is constantly growing; from tonnage, to products out of the door, to the number of actual pure sugars and syrups we produce. Ragus just keeps expanding its client database and its produce to accommodate all of our customers’ requirements.”

What has been one of the biggest challenges you’ve dealt with in your time at Ragus?
“The most challenging thing I’ve had to deal with so far was moving our factory facility 5 years ago. Due to the constant growth of the company we had outgrown the previous factory, which we had been in since 1928, so directors decided to invest a lot of money and create this new factory, which has gone beyond our expectations. This new factory is fit for purpose, the staff were allowed to have an input and we got everything we wanted to make the production run smoother and more efficiently. We now have more flexibility with the equipment, space and machinery which allows us to meet our demands now and into the future.”

Considering Ragus is a family run business do you consider yourself a part of the family?
“I’ve been with the company for over 13 years and I’m not the longest standing employee, there are other people who have been here in excess of 25 years and up! Ragus is a family business and everyone has different responsibilities. We have a lot to achieve everyday and we incur challenges on a daily basis so we have to work closely and responsibly together in order to meet our demands. Every employee has their own responsibilities but are on hand to help when and if any challenges occur.”

How many people work on the factory floor?
“We have 24 employees working in the factory; we run a very flat structure in that all of them are called ‘Production Operatives’. There are two team leaders who people will report to; if there are any problems at all we sort them out straight away.”

Do all employees receive job training?
“Yes we offer relevant training depending on the area that the employee works in. People don’t tend to move around out of their focused area, however if one area is short on staff then others will move to cover them as it’s good to take an interest in other roles to further their experience.”

What type of food safety in manufacturing courses does Ragus run?
“All employees take part in the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, or HACCP safety course. They also have manual handling training, fire awareness and in-depth inductions before starting a role with Ragus.”

Thanks Mel!!!

I hope this has allowed you to take more of an interest in Ragus; we are always happy to help with any of your pure sugars enquiries, just contact sales@ragus.co.uk or visit our website www.ragus.co.uk

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EU ban bee harming neonicotinoid pesticides

Jun 07 2018

According to British Farming Groups, the UK could be forced to rely heavily on imported crops following a vote to extend the ban on neonicotinoid pesticides in Europe. Within the next six months the world’s most widely used insecticides will be banned from all fields in order to protect both wild and honeybees that are crucial to crop pollination.  The chemicals will however still be legal to use in closed greenhouses.

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

 

Speaking on behalf of Pesticide Action Network Europe, Martin Dermine said: “Authorising neonicotinoids a quarter of a century ago was a mistake and led to an environmental disaster. Today’s vote is historic.” Vytenis Andriukaitis, European commissioner for Health and Food Safety agrees, added “bee health remains of paramount importance for me since it concerns biodiversity, food production and the environment.”

Neonicotinoids are systematic agricultural insecticides that resemble nicotine and studies have found that there is a link between using these chemicals on crops and the declining bee population. Since 1900, 13 species of bee have been lost in the UK alone, and over 30 more species are currently at risk. The world relies on each species of bee to help pollinate plants and crops, but pesticides are playing a huge part in their demise.

Neonics are absorbed into every part of the plant, from root to the flowers and tips of the leaves, so once the plant is subjected to these chemicals bees have no chance of avoiding them. When a bee feeds on the pollen and nectar that have been contaminated with these chemicals it damages its nervous system and motor function, thus affecting its navigation, feeding, foraging and reproduction abilities.

Over recent years scientific evidence has been building up and new evidence is constantly emerging to show that neonicotinoids also contaminate the environment; hedgerows, wild flowers, other insects and animals and water sources are all being affected.

According to Friends of The Earth a recent survey revealed that 81% of the British public are in favour of the government maintaining the EU ban to help protect our wild and honeybees.

The National Farmers Union has argued that restricting the use of neonicotinoids will see a massive increase in crop damage due to insects and subsequently farmers will suffer losses. Pesticide manufacturers agree with farming groups and have accused the EU of being too cautious. Graeme Taylor, at the European Crop Protection Association said, “European agriculture will suffer as a result of this decision.”

Obviously the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs welcomed the ban, but a spokesman has said that they “recognise the impact a ban will have on farmers and (we) will continue to work with them to explore alternative approaches.”

Here at Ragus we are members of the Bee Farmers’ Association and work closely with them to maintain sugar supplies to the bee population in the UK. Ragus supply Liquid Sugar to feed the bees in autumn and Bee Candy, which is a mixture of sucrose and dextrose, crystallised into block form and placed directly on the hive during the winter months to prevent them from starving; bees don’t leave their hives in dangerously low temperatures, so this solution is given in case they run out of honey to survive on.

Ragus can also deal with supplying honey for clients who want to use it as an inclusion for their food and drink products; after all it’s a natural sugar! For more information or if you’re looking for pure sugars as ingredients for bakery, dessert, confectionery, beverage or pharmaceutical contact sales@ragus.co.uk

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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.

 

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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

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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!

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