Ben Eastick Written by Ben Eastick

Granular detail: golden syrup

Golden syrup is fundamental to a huge variety of foodstuffs across the globe. Here we look at its link to Ragus’ history and what exactly it takes to produce the famous golden elixir.

What is the history of the golden elixir?

Golden syrup’s journey into becoming one of the most easily recognisable and loved sugar products throughout the world begins with Ragus Sugars’ founder Charles Eastick. Spurred on the by the rapidly increasing ubiquity of sugar in British life, he, along with his brothers John Joseph and Samuel, established a sugar analysis practice in 1880. Initially, this was designed to assist with accurate pricing and duty payments, but an importing crisis in 1883 forced the brothers to experiment with turning the molasses-brown treacle-like by-product of the sugar refining process into a palatable product.

As a result, Charles devised the formulation for golden syrup. First sold in its now iconic metal tins just two years later, it has since been officially recognised as the world’s oldest branded product. Having made this breakthrough, Charles would then go on to develop unique methods for making brewers’ saccharum and other inverted sugars.

Fast forward to the 1920s, and it was the identification of another gap in the UK’s sugar market that would lead to the foundation of the Ragus Sugars. During this decade, very small amounts of specialised sugars were being imported into Britain, largely due to it being economically unviable for the larger manufacturers to produce these themselves. Having noticed this, Charles set up a factory on the brand-new Slough Trading Estate dedicated to the production of, among other things, golden syrup, with this being the predecessor to the state-of-the-art facility Ragus Sugars has today.

Golden syrup produced by Ragus, one of the world's leading pure sugar manufacturers, from its advanced manufacturing site in the UK that also produces a range of pure sugars, blends and glucose products

Golden syrup was first formulated by our founder, Charles Eastick, in order to deal with a sugar importing crisis in 1883

What products is golden syrup used in?

As with most full or partially inverted sugar syrups, golden syrup is primarily used when manufacturing products in bulk either as a humectant, to prevent crystallisation, or for its distinct flavour profile. It is also able to withstand higher baking temperatures, making it ideally suited for biscuits, cakes, cookies, and flapjacks. Our clients may produce these goods on an industrial scale for international retail, but recipes for how to reproduce their results on a domestic level can be found here.

What makes golden syrup so ideally suited to these applications is its properties. Not only does it possess a sweetness value approximately 20% greater than straight sucrose (white sugar), but it also has a subtle golden colour that gives many products their distinct appearance. Complimenting this is golden syrup’s mellow and instantly recognisable flavour.

The current rise in veganism has also seen golden syrup increasingly utilised as a substitute for honey in a variety of products. While in a technical sense one cannot be swapped straight for the other, the two possess enough similar characteristics to make golden syrup a passable vegan alternative in this context.

How is golden syrup produced at Ragus Sugars?

Golden syrup production at Ragus Sugars today is the perfect fusion of our storied heritage and present-day expertise. We have developed the initial formulation devised by our founder Charles Eastick and combined this with our cutting-edge manufacturing facility, resulting in a superior product that is used in foodstuffs the world over. As well as being explored in more detail in a previous blog, the below video details our golden syrup manufacturing process in full, from sourcing to delivery.

To order the original golden syrup for your application, contact us now.