RAGUS – INSIDE THE FACTORY

Jun 14 2018

Ragus are a specialist sugar producer with a heritage that dates back over 100 years; Ragus’ founder invented golden syrup. We are dedicated to the sugar industry and we travel the globe to source sustainable sugar, and from our advanced UK sugar manufacturing facility, produce a wide range of pure sugar products.

After major investment in a new factory at the end of 2012, our UK facility is one of the world’s most advanced sugar manufacturing sites, producing hundreds of tonnes of sugars and syrups each day – from unrefined demerara sugars, to refiners syrups, molasses and treacles, to blends incorporating glucose syrups. These include highly specialised custom formulations created by our sugar experts to meet customer demands.

As a company we are 100% committed to sourcing the best sugar cane and sugar beet from around the globe, our pure sugar products are manufactured to the highest quality and our customer service is world-renowned. Our commitment to our clients goes beyond expectation and likewise with our employees we strive to make their working environment an efficient and positive environment; after all a happy work environment encourages the people who work for you to do the best for the company.

Bearing this in mind I would like to introduce you to our Factory Manager Mel Boyle, he’s been with Ragus for 13 years so I’ve interviewed him to bring you some insights into his experiences of working for the UK’s No 1 specialist sugar manufacturer.

Ragus is one of the world's leading pure sugar manufacturers. It sources raw sugar from across the world to manufacture sugars, syrups and special formulations from its advanced UK factory. Ragus ships its sugars globally, delivering on-time and in-full to customers across the baking, brewing, confectionary, and pharmaceutical industries

 

What is it like working for Ragus?
“Challenging!” The business never stays still; it is constantly developing and changing. I’ve worked in the factory for 13 years and it changes all the time because the business is constantly growing; from tonnage, to products out of the door, to the number of actual pure sugars and syrups we produce. Ragus just keeps expanding its client database and its produce to accommodate all of our customers’ requirements.”

What has been one of the biggest challenges you’ve dealt with in your time at Ragus?
“The most challenging thing I’ve had to deal with so far was moving our factory facility 5 years ago. Due to the constant growth of the company we had outgrown the previous factory, which we had been in since 1928, so directors decided to invest a lot of money and create this new factory, which has gone beyond our expectations. This new factory is fit for purpose, the staff were allowed to have an input and we got everything we wanted to make the production run smoother and more efficiently. We now have more flexibility with the equipment, space and machinery which allows us to meet our demands now and into the future.”

Considering Ragus is a family run business do you consider yourself a part of the family?
“I’ve been with the company for over 13 years and I’m not the longest standing employee, there are other people who have been here in excess of 25 years and up! Ragus is a family business and everyone has different responsibilities. We have a lot to achieve everyday and we incur challenges on a daily basis so we have to work closely and responsibly together in order to meet our demands. Every employee has their own responsibilities but are on hand to help when and if any challenges occur.”

How many people work on the factory floor?
“We have 24 employees working in the factory; we run a very flat structure in that all of them are called ‘Production Operatives’. There are two team leaders who people will report to; if there are any problems at all we sort them out straight away.”

Do all employees receive job training?
“Yes we offer relevant training depending on the area that the employee works in. People don’t tend to move around out of their focused area, however if one area is short on staff then others will move to cover them as it’s good to take an interest in other roles to further their experience.”

What type of food safety in manufacturing courses does Ragus run?
“All employees take part in the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, or HACCP safety course. They also have manual handling training, fire awareness and in-depth inductions before starting a role with Ragus.”

Thanks Mel!!!

I hope this has allowed you to take more of an interest in Ragus; we are always happy to help with any of your pure sugars enquiries, just contact sales@ragus.co.uk or visit our website www.ragus.co.uk

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EU ban bee harming neonicotinoid pesticides

Jun 07 2018

According to British Farming Groups, the UK could be forced to rely heavily on imported crops following a vote to extend the ban on neonicotinoid pesticides in Europe. Within the next six months the world’s most widely used insecticides will be banned from all fields in order to protect both wild and honeybees that are crucial to crop pollination.  The chemicals will however still be legal to use in closed greenhouses.

Pure sugar produced by Ragus. Ragus is one of the world's leading pure sugarmanufacturers. It sources raw sugar from across the world to manufacture sugars, syrups and special formulations from its advanced UK factory. Ragus ships its sugars globally, delivering on-time and in-full to customers across the brewing, baking, confectionary, and pharmaceutical industries

 

Speaking on behalf of Pesticide Action Network Europe, Martin Dermine said: “Authorising neonicotinoids a quarter of a century ago was a mistake and led to an environmental disaster. Today’s vote is historic.” Vytenis Andriukaitis, European commissioner for Health and Food Safety agrees, added “bee health remains of paramount importance for me since it concerns biodiversity, food production and the environment.”

Neonicotinoids are systematic agricultural insecticides that resemble nicotine and studies have found that there is a link between using these chemicals on crops and the declining bee population. Since 1900, 13 species of bee have been lost in the UK alone, and over 30 more species are currently at risk. The world relies on each species of bee to help pollinate plants and crops, but pesticides are playing a huge part in their demise.

Neonics are absorbed into every part of the plant, from root to the flowers and tips of the leaves, so once the plant is subjected to these chemicals bees have no chance of avoiding them. When a bee feeds on the pollen and nectar that have been contaminated with these chemicals it damages its nervous system and motor function, thus affecting its navigation, feeding, foraging and reproduction abilities.

Over recent years scientific evidence has been building up and new evidence is constantly emerging to show that neonicotinoids also contaminate the environment; hedgerows, wild flowers, other insects and animals and water sources are all being affected.

According to Friends of The Earth a recent survey revealed that 81% of the British public are in favour of the government maintaining the EU ban to help protect our wild and honeybees.

The National Farmers Union has argued that restricting the use of neonicotinoids will see a massive increase in crop damage due to insects and subsequently farmers will suffer losses. Pesticide manufacturers agree with farming groups and have accused the EU of being too cautious. Graeme Taylor, at the European Crop Protection Association said, “European agriculture will suffer as a result of this decision.”

Obviously the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs welcomed the ban, but a spokesman has said that they “recognise the impact a ban will have on farmers and (we) will continue to work with them to explore alternative approaches.”

Here at Ragus we are members of the Bee Farmers’ Association and work closely with them to maintain sugar supplies to the bee population in the UK. Ragus supply Liquid Sugar to feed the bees in autumn and Bee Candy, which is a mixture of sucrose and dextrose, crystallised into block form and placed directly on the hive during the winter months to prevent them from starving; bees don’t leave their hives in dangerously low temperatures, so this solution is given in case they run out of honey to survive on.

Ragus can also deal with supplying honey for clients who want to use it as an inclusion for their food and drink products; after all it’s a natural sugar! For more information or if you’re looking for pure sugars as ingredients for bakery, dessert, confectionery, beverage or pharmaceutical contact sales@ragus.co.uk

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