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Liquid sugar in granular detail

28/03/2024 By Theresa Pereira in Products Liquid sugars

Liquid sugar is a versatile water-based solution that is used in many applications in the food and beverage industries. As a functional ingredient, liquid sugar’s uses include adding sweetness and bulk, and aiding the fermentation process.

In this blog, we explore how liquid sugar is made, its benefits, what applications it is used in and how the liquid sugar market is evolving.

What is liquid sugar?

Liquid sugar is white refined sugar (sucrose) combined with water. It comprises 67% sucrose. The white refined sugar can be made from either sugar beet or sugarcane, as the chemical make-up is the same. However, liquid sugar can also be made from natural raw cane sugar and water, meaning its raw ingredient is sugarcane.

A clear fluid or liquid being poured onto a light-coloured surface

Liquid sugar is a clear, less viscous syrup compared to other sugar syrups because of its higher water content, which gives the ingredient its functional properties.

Liquid sugar is classed as a sugar syrup. It has a thin, runny consistency and clear-to-light-yellow appearance. Though sweet in taste, liquid sugar does not have as complex or concentrated a flavour as other syrups due to its high water content.

As a multi-functional ingredient in the food and beverage industry, liquid sugar has many uses and it brings many benefits to manufacturers, which we outline below.

How is liquid sugar made?

If made from sugarcane, the first stage is to crush the harvested sugarcane to extract its juice. This juice is heated to 80°C and neutralised with lime to remove any impurities. The juice is then boiled for two hours and allowed to evaporate, leaving behind a thicker liquid.

During crystallisation, the liquid is seeded with sugar crystals before it is boiled again. This allows the crystals to grow in the mixture and turns it into a massecuite syrup. The syrup is poured into a centrifuge and spun at high speed, which causes the crystals to separate from the liquid. The sugar crystals are then dried and sifted for any impurities before being bagged.

Learn more about the sugarcane production process. Liquid sugar is also made from sugar beet, and this article explains how sugar beet is processed into white crystalline sugar.

Sugar being spun in an industrial machine called a centrifuge.

The thick sugar syrup, which in this image is produced from beet sugar, is shown in a centrifuge that separates the sugar crystals from the remaining beet molasses.

Ragus sources high quality white refined sugar and manufactures liquid sugar. At our facility, the sugar is placed into a large vat with water. This solution is heated until the right concentration of sugar to water is achieved. The target ratio for most applications is 67% sugar to 33% water. Once all the sugar crystals have fully dissolved the liquid sugar is then passed through an 80-micron filter to remove any microscopic particles or debris before it is packed.

White crystalline sugar is used for liquid sugar formulations requiring no distinct colour or flavour.

The functional benefits of liquid sugar

A key benefit of liquid sugar when compared to crystalline sugar is that the sugar is already fully dissolved and ready to use. This saves on energy, time and labour costs. The liquid sugar is easy and efficient to use in any application, making it manageable and highly adaptable to many applications.

Liquid sugar applications

As an already dissolved, smooth, sweet and largely colourless solution, liquid sugar is ideal for adding sweetness to and enhancing the flavour of a range of beverages, such as soft drinks, cordials, juices, energy drinks and sodas.

Liquid sugar is often used to thicken, add bulk and enhance mouthfeel in food products such as ice cream, yoghurt, cereals, sweets, jellies and preserves. Liquid sugar can also be used to aid fermentation in the brewing of beverages like beers and cider, and to add moisture to baked goods, helping to preserve them for longer.

Liquid in a clear bottle on an industrial conveyor belt Jam doughnuts dusted with white sugar sitting on a tray

Liquid sugar has wide ranging applications, from sweetening beverages to maintaining freshness in baked goods.

Quality control in manufacturing liquid sugar

Quality control is an important part of the liquid sugar manufacturing process. Ragus manufactures liquid sugar from high quality white refined sugar and, in some cases, canes sugars in a controlled process in our factory. This process includes rigorous testing and ensures the finished product is always stable in consistency and colour, and of high quality.

Ensuring the liquid sugar contains 67% sucrose is an important quality step as this high percentage maintains the antimicrobial properties of the syrup. Liquid sugars with a lower sucrose percentage require special handling.   

It is important to store liquid sugar at temperatures between 15ºC to 20ºC. If unopened, liquid sugar has a shelf life of three weeks before crystallisation and spoiling will occur.

The liquid sugar market and consumer trends

Liquid sugar is highly adaptable, especially for use in beverages. As a functional ingredient, its application uses are increasing.

Its solubility and stability as a product and the rising use of liquid sugar in applications across the bakery, confectionery, beverage, processed food manufacturing and restaurant sectors means the liquid sugar market is growing. According to research, the global liquid sugar market is expected to grow with a compound annual growth rate of 7.1% up to 2032.

Ragus manufactures high-quality liquid sugar and a range of other pure sugar functional ingredients for industrial food and beverage producers. To learn more, contact our Customer Services Team. For more sugar news and Ragus updates, keep browsing SUGARTALK and follow Ragus on LinkedIn.  

Theresa Pereira

Theresa ensures that our customers’ orders are managed efficiently and works closely with our Sales Office Manager to deliver all orders on time in full.

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