Kay Sandhu Written by Kay Sandhu

Managing customer orders in the lead-up to Christmas

Contrary to popular belief, festive food and beverage products are usually manufactured well in advance of the Christmas season. In this blog, we explain why this is the case and which pure sugars are most popular for these purposes.  

Seasonal Christmas products are manufactured well in advance

By the time we reach December, the majority of our customers have already produced their Christmas product lines, which are stored in warehouses, on shop shelves, or with consumers. This means that our main priority in December is ensuring our customers are stocked up until the end of the month and have sufficient stock for when production restarts in the new year.

This is typical of many food products that are manufactured in bulk. The products have already been produced, they are simply being kept in storage before they appear on supermarket shelves. With this in mind, it is unsurprising that seasonal products are produced so far in advance. For example, the Christmas puddings that fill up entire supermarket aisles are manufactured eight months before Christmas. Another Christmas staple, cranberry sauce, is produced even before this date.

Christmas puddings are usually produced well in advance and then stored for several months to mature their flavour profiles. 

So, contrary to what some people might believe, there is not usually a significant spike in demand for bulk food ingredients during December. This is particularly true of pure sugars, which are easy to store and have extended shelf lives due to their humectant properties.

Which pure sugars are in greatest demand in the lead-up to Christmas?

Although festive foods and beverages tend to be produced well in advance, that does not mean that sugar manufacturers are not busy in the lead-up to Christmas. However, December is not traditionally a month where demand for a specific sugar surges. Instead, the demand is spread out across multiple products. Below are some examples of these products and their applications:

Golden Syrup is one of the world’s best-loved sugar products and is consequently popular all year round. It is particularly popular in the UK in December because of its application in syrup sponges. These serve as a warming dessert and are a household favourite during the winter months. Golden syrup adds a distinctive mellow flavour, providing the sponges with their golden colour, and retaining moisture in the desserts despite being stored for months between production and consumption.

Treacle and molasses are both nutrient-rich ingredients due to their high molasses content. You can find more about the subtle differences between these two products in a previous blog post. Both are used in a variety of festive foods as their bittersweet flavours perfectly complement the spices favoured in the winter recipes. For example, molasses is often a key ingredient used to develop the flavour of meat glazes.

Dark brown crystallinessuch as soft brown sugar and muscovado sugar, play an important role in the production of festive gingerbreads and Christmas puddings. They provide the rich brown colour and gentle sweetness that are expected of these baked goods while acting as natural preservatives.

Invert Sugar Syrup is used for bulk production all year round, but it has notable applications in the production of festive roulades and black forest gateau. In these end-products, inverts act as a humectant and depress the freezing point of the frozen puddings.

 

The impact of coronavirus on December customer orders

Customer orders have remained consistent this year, but there have been variations in sales from particular industries. For instance, while lockdown restrictions have increased the demand for food and beverage products in retail, sales from other sectors have dropped.

The key reason for this has been the closing of food services. Throughout large parts of the year cafés, restaurants and pubs have been forced to close, only being allowed to offer takeaway services or offer dine-in services at reduced capacity. This has impacted many markets, with brewing being an obvious example.

This is particularly noticeable at this time of year when colleagues, families and friends traditionally meet for meals and drinks to celebrate the festive season. However, it is also a trend that is set to continue via the Covid tier system in England and the 6pm curfew and the prohibiting of alcohol sales in pubs and restaurants in Wales.

Looking to the future: January preparations

While customer orders in December may not be as dramatically impacted by the season as some people might expect, a key part of our work in the customer services team is ensuring that customers are stocked up to resume production in January.

Then, the focus will turn towards preparing for the Easter holiday when production of confectionery – namely chocolate – increases. As a result, we can expect invert sugar syrup, liquid sugar and muscovado sugar to become particularly sought-after in the new year.

 

Ragus manufactures high-quality and consistent pure sugar products for the food and beverages industry. To learn more about our product portfolio, visit our product finder. To arrange your ideal pure sugar order today, contact a member of our customer services team on +44 (0)1753 575353 or sales@ragus.co.uk. For more sugar news and Ragus updates, follow Ragus on LinkedIn.