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Sugar supply chain: how does it all link together?
At Ragus, we take great pride in the transparency of our supply chain. We understand how important it is for consumers to see every step of the journey, from growing to delivery. So, for this week’s blog, we thought it would be a good idea to draw attention to our supply chain for crystalline sugar, explaining the process and highlighting which elements are particularly important to us.
Our sugar is sourced from both sugar beet grown in Europe and sugar cane, which we source from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. Sugar cane can only be grown in hot, tropical climates. It takes approximately twelve months from planting to harvest sugar cane, and seven months from planting to harvest beet. Local mills process raw cane into sugar crystals, before the further stage of refining into white sugar, whereas beet sugar is processed directly into white sugar.
Once sugar has been crystallised, we source the highest quality sugar so that we can manufacture the best quality sugar products. In practice, this means travelling to these sites and assessing first-hand whether the growing and processing meets our high standards.
A 90-year heritage in the sugar industry means we have become experts in sourcing. We understand that the key to sourcing is the building of relationships with reliable and trustworthy suppliers. But, in order to form any relationship with a supplier, we need to make sure that their sugar is ethically grown. We have attained accreditations with several international bodies that require transparent and ethical business standards to further emphasise our responsible approach. These include, but are not limited to, Bonsucro, Fairtrade Foundation and Supplier Ethical Data Exchange.
Maintaining quality relationships is the most crucial aspect of our approach to ensuring there is a long-term, quality and sustainable supply of sugar. However, there is an awareness that any potential Brexit deal could have implications for our relationships with our suppliers. Ragus are taking a range of initiatives to combat this Brexit uncertainty.
Combine harvester, harvesting sugar
When we have sourced the best quality sugars from around the world, we import them to our state-of-the-art factory in Berkshire, UK. Our multi-million-pound facility was purpose built and opened in 2013 and adheres to all major European manufacturing standards (BRC and ISO 9001 included). As most of our machinery has been custom-engineered, we can carry out technical procedures that provide us with the ability to manufacture highly specialised custom formulations that our customers demand.
The size of our complex allows Ragus to process hundreds of tonnes of sugars every day, and we ensure quality control by test analysing incoming raw materials and finished products for consistency, taste and texture. One of our most challenging goals is to reduce carbon emissions year-on-year, and the specification of the factory is integral to this. You can find more detail on sustainability at Ragus in the following blog: https://www.ragus.co.uk/safeguarding-sustainability-at-ragus/
For greater insight into life in the factory, watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5ZXLh7FUv4&feature=youtu.be
To ensure we distribute the finished product on time and in full, we incorporate the latest logistics systems to help us plan our routes and timings. Our customer base ranges from small independents to major multinationals, and we ship our tailor-made products all over the world. We are committed to providing the highest levels of service from sourcing to delivery, and our industry leading performance delivery figures are further testament to this ethos.
The above is merely a snapshot of Ragus’ supply chain. You can find more detailed information concerning our supply chain across our website, or if you would like to speak to us directly about our supply chain, please contact our Customer Services Team. To see more sugar news and updates, continue browsing SUGARTALK and follow Ragus on LinkedIn.
A board member and co-leader of the business, Ben is responsible for our marketing strategy and its execution by the agency team he leads and is the guardian of our corporate brand vision. He also manages key customers and distributors.
In 2005, he took on the role of globally sourcing our ‘speciality sugars’. With his background in laboratory product testing and following three decades of supplier visits, his expertise means we get high quality, consistent and reliable raw materials from ethical sources.