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Sugar production

From beet and cane to sugar

We process beet and cane in our efficient production facilities, which we continuously modernize. At the end of the sugar extraction process, we have our product: granulated sugar. Let us show you what happens behind the scenes at our factories.

Video: From beet to sugar

Extracting the sugar

The individual stages of the production process that results in granulated sugar, as well as the intermediate products, can be described as follows:

Production stages

Clean the harvested crop – extract sugar from the cells (raw juice) – purify the raw juice – thicken the raw juice (evaporate water – thick juice) – boil the thick juice (crystals) – separate the crystals from the molasses – dry and cool the sugar crystals.

The process is complete when we have extracted solid sugar crystals of varying quality from the liquid sugar in the plant cells. The quality is determined by the remaining proportion of non-sugar material.

With sugar beet, we leach the sugar from the cells using hot water. With sugar cane, the sugar is pressed from the cells. The remaining stages up to crystallization are identical.

Animal feed and fertilizer from beet

In addition to sugar as the primary product, other products are created from the raw material and during the production process. For example, the parts of the beet removed during the production process are used as high-quality animal feed. With sugar cane, on the other hand, we use the pressed cane as an energy source by burning it.

The lime filtered during juice purification is used in agriculture as a high-quality lime fertilizer.

Continuously enhancing our production factories

When it comes to enhancing our production factories, our top priorities are energy conservation, environmental sustainability and customer satisfaction. We invest in new machinery and equipment every year. Over an almost 200-year period, our factories have evolved into efficient and reliable sugar production facilities. The sugar produced in these factories meets our high standards and those of our customers every day.

Digitalisation & Technology Service (DTS)

The employees in the DTS department look after the technical aspects of our production in particular. This is where Nordzucker’s technological standards are set.

The activities of DTS cover technical support and innovation, engineering, process control/automation, analytics, quality assurance and trouble shooting in all areas of the sugar manufacturing (from field to final products) as well as training and education courses for colleagues. Information systems for the Agri and Logistics areas are developed in this department also.

The department has employees in Braunschweig, Nakskov, Örtofta and Copenhagen.

Product development

As well as developing products made from sugar, this department also adapts and improves them. Entire concepts for various sugar products are developed and managed here. In partnership with our customers, this department also enhances how our products are used.

In addition, the methods used to test our various sugar products are developed here. This enables us to describe them specifically and guarantee their quality at all times.

We also have product development employees in Arlöv and Copenhagen.

We have been reducing CO₂ emissions from our plants for many years. With the Go Green project we are going even further - and in the long term want to fully switch to renewable energies.

Related Topics

Guided factory tours

Growing sugar beet and sugar cane

Functional charac­teristics of sugar

Sugar & nutrition