Ben Eastick Written by Ben Eastick

Our best perspectives from 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, we’ve compiled a list of our ten favourite blogs from another fascinating year in the world of sugar.

  1. Tariffs on sugars explained (22 February 2019)

In February, when we explored how the complex system of European Union (EU) sugar tariffs could change in a post-Brexit Britain. This involved explaining the concept of international trade tariffs, and then specifically explaining how EU sugar tariffs affect businesses in the EU, resulting in a series of Brexit-themed blogs.

The complexities of the system lie in the different rules the EU applies to sugar: basic tariffs, raw sugar tariffs, preferential tariff structure and Least Developed Countries tariffs to name but a few. As well as this the tariff is also determined by whether sugar is destined for direct consumption or to be further refined into white sugar.

Not understanding the implications of the EU’s tariff system can prove costly for all businesses involved in the sugar supply chain. Follow this link for the full breakdown.

  1. The importance of ethical supply chains (25 April 2019)

Sourcing is a crucial aspect of Ragus’ operations. Having scrupulous supplier auditing processes allows us to ethically source the highest quality raw materials. Central to this is ensuring all actors in the supply chain are paid fairly for their work.

That’s why in this blog from April, we underlined our commitment to ethical supply chains by demonstrating how we enforce this practice day-to-day.

At Ragus, we go out of our way to meet all actors within the supply chain personally.

  1. Granular Detail: Invert Sugar (16 May 2019)

Our founder, Charles Eastick, distinguished Ragus from its competitors by specialising in invert sugars when the company was first established in 1928. Since then, we have further honed this expertise to develop the high quality range of invert sugars Ragus produces today.

Therefore, this edition of Granular detail is particularly important to us. The blog explains what invert sugar is, which products it can be used in, and what advice we would give to clients when buying invert sugar.

Find out everything you need to know about invert sugar here.

  1. Global sugar market report 2019 (7 June 2019)

One of our most popular blogs of the year, this was the latest entry in our annual sugar market reports. We released the report at the midpoint of the calendar year to give enough time to provide a fair analysis of the global sugar market and we are planning to do the same in the new year.

The report assessed the global sugar price and analysed the primary factors that affected supply, demand and price in each of the largest sugar producing nations in the world. The main takeaway was that global sugar price was the lowest in a decade due to a global surplus of sugar.

To see the report in full, follow this link.

  1. How is sugar used in the pharmaceutical industry? (12 June 2019)

 Many people aren’t aware or don’t realise the crucial role sugar plays in the pharmaceutical industry. From precisely dosed pharmaceutical grade sugar for pills and capsules to invert sugar for cough syrups, its applications in this industry are vast and numerous.

This blog explains how and why sugar is used as an excipient – the functions it performs, the type of sugar used, and the testing procedures it needs to go through. Find out everything you need to know about sugar in the pharmaceutical industry here.

Sugar plays a vital role acting as an excipient in medicine.

  1. Safeguarding sustainability at Ragus (18 July 2019)

In the modern world, we are more aware of how our actions impact the environment than ever before. Sustainability has therefore become a core focus for Ragus within the last ten years, forming one of our 10 pillars of corporate social responsibility.

So, this blog was an easy choice for the list because it is testament to the ways that we are continually improving our operations at Ragus – limiting waste, increasing efficiency and reducing our carbon footprint. We understand that we need to work towards building a more sustainable sugar industry together, and we will continue working towards these goals in 2020.

  1. Taking sugar away is not the answer (30 August 2019)

In August, we looked at the increased attention sugar has been given both by the public and the government. This culminated in the UK’s sugar tax, which was introduced on 6 April 2018. But as Ragus has such a long history in the sugar industry, we have seen attitudes towards sugar ebb and flow for many decades.

Therefore, this blog suggests the idea that totally removing sugar from our food and drinks might not be the answer, as artificial replacements currently aren’t suitable. To find out why this, read the full blog here:

  1. India becomes world’s biggest sugar producer: but at what cost? (17 October 2019)

In October, Indian Council of Agricultural Research Assistant Director-General, R.K. Singh announced that India had overtaken Brazil to become the world’s largest sugar producing nation. This was significant news for the sugar industry, but not necessarily positive, as it was as a result of the global sugar surplus.

Therefore, in this blog, we reviewed the problem of overproduction and suggested that India adopt the Brazilian model of co-production: producing ethanol as well as sugar from their sources of sugar cane.

  1. The sugar beet harvest: from the field to the factory (28 November 2019)

We pride ourselves on our commitment to fair and quality sourcing, and harvest season always presents the perfect time to visit our suppliers and audit where our sugar comes from. Our most recent supplier visit formed the basis of a blog.

Here, we could explain the complexity of the beet refining process alongside actual photographs we have taken. It’s important to be transparent with our sourcing procedures, and this blog allowed us to do that while also making it easier to understand how sugar beet is refined into sugar.

Overseeing a sugar beet combine harvester in action. 

  1. Ragus’ sugar story: how our 90-year heritage informs our practices (5 December 2019) 

Our 90-year heritage has helped build our expertise in sourcing, manufacturing, consulting and delivering. As December is a time where we often connect with our family traditions, it offered the ideal opportunity to engage with the company’s history.

The blog shows Ragus’ rich heritage into four stages: its origins in Victorian London, its birth during the war years (1914-1945), its development across new horizons (1950-1990), and its modernisation in the twenty-first century, which you can find more about here.

The enduring theme is that Ragus has evolved with the changing demands of the sugar market while also maintaining the most important parts of its heritage, making it the perfect blog to end our list with.

Thanks to everyone who has read and engaged with Ragus’ blog posts throughout 2019. 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 2020 to talk all things pure sugar.