Ragus Written by Ragus

Our top ten insights of 2021

As 2021 draws to a close, we’ve compiled a list of our ten favourite blogs from another fascinating year in the world of sugar.

Lockdown baking: biscuit recipes for beginners and professionals (28th January 2021) 

At the beginning of the year, as the country saw another increase in restrictions, we brought you a selection of our favourite biscuit recipes, perfect for honing your creative skills and keeping your family entertained. These ranged in difficulty, from recipes suited to a baking novice, as well as more challenging options for experienced bakers.

In handpicking the biscuit recipes, we concentrated on two key Ragus sugar products: demerara sugar and cane molasses. Demerara sugar’s coarser grain creates a crunchy texture that is ideal for biscuits, while the dark, thick appearance of molasses lends cookies a deep colour and robust flavour.

To see which four recipes we chose, follow this link.

What’s the difference between partial and full invert sugar syrup? (25th February 2021) 

Invert sugars are ingredients widely used in industrial food and beverage production. In February, we addressed the differences between the two main types, partial and full invert sugar syrup.

The blog discusses the properties of both syrups, comparing their flavours and colours to better understand their differing roles in industrial applications. For example, full invert sugar syrup has a sweeter flavour due to its higher sucrose content, making it the choice product in icings and fondant. Partial invert sugar syrup has a longer shelf life because of its lower water content. As a result, it is often used to increase the shelf life of drinks and packaged food.

Find out more about these two products here.

close up of cola being poured over ice

Many popular beverages rely on sugar syrups to achieve flavour and mouthfeel.

How different sugars impact the flavour and production of cola (12th March 2021) 

In March, a certain cola-related blunder by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak had the unlikely result of bringing to light some important messages regarding sugar. As the interview continued, Sunak discussed the different tastes that the drink has around the world depending on the type of sugar used to produce it.

In a piece from earlier in the year, we explore how different sugars and sweetener syrups play important roles in impacting the quality, flavour, and production of cola. We focus on five different options – cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, liquid sugar, liquid raw cane sugar and partial invert sugar syrup – discussing the properties of each and comparing the benefits that each one offers to taste, as well as to the manufacturing process.

Read this blog to learn more about sugar’s impact on the popular beverage.

Sugar in vaccines: stabilising and preserving effectiveness (26th March 2021) 

With the vaccine and booster roll-outs taking place during 2021, Ragus took the opportunity to discuss the crucial role that sugar plays in vaccines.

person wearing blue scrubs injects vaccine into patient's arm

Sugar acts as a stabilising ingredient within medicines such as vaccines.

It is not uncommon for sugar to be used in medicines as a dosage vehicle. Sugar stabilises the active ingredients and bulks up the medicines. It in unsurprising then that sugar was used in the production of all three of the main vaccines – AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Moderna – acting as a stabiliser for the medicines due its natural humectant properties,

In this blog, we discuss the role sugar plays in each of the vaccines and how different sugar products can produce alternative results.

Pure sugar watch dials: innovation freezes sugar in time (21st May 2021) 

Sugar has some highly unusual applications. In May we brought you another blog on the topic, this time discussing the use of pure sugar crystals to make watch dials.

Used because of its natural preservative qualities, the pure sugar watch dials can last decades without spoiling, and sugar’s crystalline structure means it reflects light in a similar way to jewels, making it an ideal alternative. A more sustainable and often a more ethical option, sugar is fast-becoming a popular product for use in the fashion-industry.

To learn more about this development, see here.

close up of white sugar crystals on black background

Sugar crystals offer a sustainable alternative within the fashion industry.

Glucose syrup UK shortages: how to overcome the supply deficit (17th June 2021) 

2021 has seen the subject of glucose syrup shortages recur throughout the year, and in our blog from June we addressed the details behind this news story.

Glucose syrup is a popular ingredient in commercial food and beverage production, its light, sweet taste a staple component behind many of the products we see on supermarket shelves. However, recent price spikes and localised shortages have left those manufacturers reliant on the ingredient in crisis and desperately looking elsewhere for a replacement.

In this blog, we discuss how the pandemic, poor harvests, and Brexit have contributed to the situation and suggest the potential that invert sugar syrup has as an alternative ingredient to glucose syrup.

Global sugar market report 2021/22 (8th July 2021) 

In July it was time for Ragus’ global sugar market report. One of the year’s most important blogs, it provided a detailed analysis of the first six months of 2021, as well as discussing our predictions for what may come.

We compare the main takeaways from all the continents individually, as well as addressing the issues threatening the global sugar market. The disruptions to crops caused by weather patterns had a significant impact on output, as did container shortages.  

To see the report in full, follow this link.

Sugar for bulking: natural volume while performing added functions (14th September 2021) 

The role of bulking agents is to add volume or weight to food and beverage products without affecting their taste or function. While sugars and syrups are generally thought of as ingredients employed for their taste, they also perform important functions as natural bulking agents.

This blog explains how different sugar products have varying bulking capabilities. For example, demerara sugar is often used to thicken marmalades and jams, while liquid sugar is the choice for alcoholic drinks as it adds body and mouthfeel to the products. We also discuss that as sugar is a natural bulking agent, it cannot easily be replicated, meaning manufacturers using artificial products to pursue ‘sugar-free’ labels are at risk of compromising the quality of their produce.

Find out everything you need to know here.

close up of strawberries being boiled down to make jam

In jam production, sugar is used to thicken up the final product.

Sugar in batteries: extending life cycles in more than just food (21st September 2021) 

In September, news emerged of a sustainable alternative to the previously standard lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are made using toxic and expensive materials, yet research has found that by using sugar to manufacture lithium-sulphur batteries, not only does the ingredient work to naturally extend the life of these batteries but it results in a product that does much less environmental damage.

The sugar coats and insulates the electrode inside the lithium-sulphur battery, preventing deterioration to create a product with a performance that matches that of lithium-ion batteries.

See our blog to learn more about this exciting development.

Ragus passes SMETA audit: what this means in sugar terms (14th October 2021) 

In response to Ragus passing its latest SMETA audit, our October blog explains the significance of this accreditation, both to us as an organisation, as well to the wider sugar industry.

Sedex is an ethical trade service body aiming to empower responsible global supply chains, and SMETA is one of its assessment solutions. It investigates the social impact of an organisation and evaluates on-sight working conditions. To conduct a SMETA audit four areas are measured, labour, health and safety, environment, and business ethics. This kind of auditing is particularly important for sugar industry because it is a global operation.

Passing an audit of this kind shows the ethical nature of Ragus’ business operations and highlights our commitment to social responsibility. Find out more here.

view of outside of Ragus factory with SMETA stamp across it

The outcome of a SMETA audit can be shared with suppliers and partners via Sedex’s digital platform.

Thanks to everyone who has read and engaged with Ragus’ blogs throughout 2021. We hope this final blog has provided you with a chance to catch up on anything you might have missed from the past year, and we will be back in 2022 to talk all things pure sugar. Meanwhile, to learn more about our unrivalled expertise in pure sugar, contact a member of out customer services team on +44 (0)1753 215424 or enquiries@ragus.co.uk. For more sugar news and Ragus updates, follow Ragus on LinkedIn.