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How bulk sugar suppliers can deliver added value

18/01/2024 By Frank O’Kelly in Products

Ragus is one of Europe’s leading bulk sugar suppliers, working with brands across the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. Our pure sugar products come from sugarcane and sugar beet that is responsibly sourced and processed. As bulk sugar suppliers, we aim to ensure quality and transparency across the supply chain.

This commitment to product quality and transparency has been at the heart of what Ragus stands for since the company’s founding in 1928 by Charles Eastick, the inventor of golden syrup. In this blog, we detail how bulk sugar suppliers like Ragus can, and do, offer added value to customers, from the way in which the sugar is sourced through to final delivery.

By proving our pure sugar products are sourced responsibly

Ragus is a bulk sugar supplier to industry, and we deliver greater value by supplying sugar that is responsibly sourced and processed. Responsible sourcing is the first step in our supply chain.

Visiting our partners in person.

Ragus’ senior team travels to visit many of our suppliers in person, allowing us to audit their growing and processing practices. Our association with SEDEX, one of many accreditations held by Ragus, means we can demonstrate evidence of responsible supply chain sourcing practices when required. Furthermore, all our suppliers must submit an ethical questionnaire and meet Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) standards to show they comply with international labour standards.

As part of this audit assessment, we consult with suppliers on the sourcing and refining process. In doing so, we can source higher quality raw materials that enhance the quality of our pure sugar products. By visiting our suppliers and supply chain partners on-site, we can check and prove that the sugar we use in our products is grown and processed responsibly and in accordance with industry standards.

Consulting stakeholders throughout our supply chain.

All of this provides customers with confidence that they can buy bulk sugar from a responsible functional ingredients supplier dedicated to ethical sugar production.

Sourcing sugarcane vs. sugar beet

The pure sugars we supply are sourced from both cane sugar and beet sugar, and from approved growers and suppliers. As sugarcane grows in tropical and subtropical regions, our sugarcane-derived products come from cane sugar suppliers in Africa, the Caribbean and the Asia-Pacific. Sugar beet thrives in more temperate climates, so our sugar beet is generally sourced from Europe. The raw material is either refined or processed locally to where it is grown before we source them. This supports the sustainability of the product and enables us to strengthen responsibility in the supply chain.

There are differences in the sourcing of sugarcane and sugar beet. Sugar beet is only used for manufacturing crystalline white sugar and the beet sugar is processed directly into white sugar. This makes the quality control measures for sugar beet sourcing and processing more straightforward. However, raw sugarcane is harvested before it is partially refined into raw sugar and cane sugar products, with the option of further refining it into white sugar.

Sugar beet (left) and sugarcane (right).

Sugarcane is the raw material used in the manufacture of crystalline cane sugars and cane syrups, such as demerara sugar and cane molasses. As such, an extra level of expertise is required for its sourcing, manufacture and transportation.

Sugarcane is also sourced from countries that tend to be at greater risk from environmental and/or climate challenges, such as drought, or poor human rights and labour practices. But Ragus counters this by implementing strict procurement strategies and policies, by visiting suppliers and by holding accreditations from global organisations that champion environmental and social responsibility and sustainability.

Ragus’ focus on transparency and sustainability in supplier audits is highlighted in our Sustainable Procurement Policy. You can read more about our sourcing processes via the responsibility page and sourcing sugar page.

By supplying a range of pure sugar ingredients in bulk

Once the sugarcane and sugar beet are responsibly sourced and processed, it is transported to our world-class production facility in Slough, west of London. This purpose-built facility is designed to adhere to the latest food manufacturing standards and features custom-engineered machinery and incorporates smart technology to facilitate bulk sugar manufacturing.

Bulk syrup manufacturing (left), storage and distribution (right).

The core production facility includes inversion pans for syrup manufacture, with internal and external tanks to support it. There is also a crystalline production facility, and Ragus has invested in storage on-site and off-site to ensure continuity of supply for bulk industrial customers.

In the sugar industry, the term ‘bulk’ typically refers to the tonnes of product that are produced industrially. Manufacturing speciality sugar ingredients at this scale requires specialist knowledge of sugar formulations and technical procedures, combined with the most advanced machinery to manufacture a range of high-quality sugars that meet the latest standards and the needs of our customers.

Ragus is a major bulk speciality sugar ingredients supplier in the UK and has built up this expertise over our 95-year history.

Today, we produce around 11 core pure sugar products across four categories:

* Crystallines, such as demerara sugar or soft brown light sugar
* Syrups, such as invert sugar syrup or glucose syrup
* Treacles and molasses, such as black treacle
* Custom formulations, such as brewing sugar

By consulting on product and custom sugar formulations

A key difference between Ragus and many other sugar suppliers is that we transform raw sugars and refined white sugars into added value pure sugar functional ingredients that help our customers enhance the quality and production performance of their own products. Each pure sugar product has a unique taste, texture and appearance that produces distinct results in different applications, with the products used in a variety of markets, such as baking, beverages and pharmaceuticals. Sugar is a functional ingredient, performing a particular function depending on the needs of food, beverage and pharmaceutical manufacturer.

At Ragus, our extensive sugar expertise can also be called upon by customers to find the ideal pure sugar for their application, and we can tailor our formulations to the requirements of their specific production process. Furthermore, our sugar products can be blended to meet the functional requirements of each recipe. Our products are available as fairtrade or organic, and we can support customers to identify the best pure sugar product for their application.

This consultation process is a seamless collaboration between all parts of Ragus’ business, allowing us to provide a complete and customised service to every customer. Find out more about how we work with customers, from sourcing, manufacturing and consulting to delivery.

By delivering on time and in full

Ragus supplies sugar directly to industrial food, beverage and pharmaceutical businesses as well as through resellers and distributors to smaller manufacturers, artisan producers and brewers. Every customer requires the highest quality product for use in their specific application. Appropriate packaging and timely distribution and delivery play a key role in achieving this.

When it comes to sugar packaging, the type of packaging depends on the product being delivered. For example, syrup is delivered in bulk tankers, intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) and 25kg pails. Crystalline sugars are packaged in 25kg branded paper sacks or 1,000kg bags.

Delivering pure sugar syrups in bulk to industrial customers using road tankers, IBCs and pails.

At Ragus, we are committed to industry-leading delivery performance and on-time delivery standards. We advise on the most appropriate means of packaging, transport and storage, based on each customer’s need and to maintain product quality.

While we deliver added value throughout the supply chain, we believe our distribution services differentiate us from other sugar manufacturers. For example, we deliver the finished product in line with each customer’s specific schedule. And we use the latest technologies to ensure orders are delivered on time and in full.

By guaranteeing continuity of supply

Continuity of supply is more important for customers than ever before. Yet events like the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain bottlenecks, the reality of more frequent and extreme environmental conditions due to climate change, the energy crisis, geopolitical and economic uncertainty, and trade wars all undermine a sugar manufacturer’s ability to guarantee continuity of supply to customers.

Our customer services team understands the continuity of supply and delivery turnaround challenges, particularly in the current climate. We make sure that we are aware of these challenges and are responsive to them, while working around them to help our customers meet their business objectives.

Ragus fulfils the role of responsible sugar supplier across the process of sourcing, manufacturing and delivering pure sugar products. We also have expertise in consulting and can provide guidance at every stage of the sourcing, manufacturing and delivery process.

For more information, or to learn more about our pure sugar products, contact our Customer Services Team. For more sugar news and Ragus updates, keep browsing SUGARTALK and follow Ragus on LinkedIn. 

Frank O’Kelly

Frank is the primary contact for many of our largest customers.

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