Learning zone

Learn more about how Ragus works and the journey from sugar cane
to a range of diverse sugar and syrup products.

Growing Sugar Cane

All plants capture the sun's energy through their chlorophyll and use it to produce sugars. Sugar beet and sugar cane produce and store enough sugar that we can grow them specifically for their sugars.

  • Natural Sugar Cane

    Sugar Cane

    Ragus gets most of its raw materials from natural sugar cane. This crop is a tall tropical grass that reaches a height of 4 to 5 metres. It requires ample rainfall and abundant sunshine in the summer and mild winters. It’s generally found in countries like Brazil, Cuba, India, Mauritius and the West Indies.

  • Growing Sugar Cane

    Growing

    The cane seeds are too small to plant directly in the field. Instead mature harvested stalks are cut into 20 inch segments, placed in furrows in the field and covered with soil. Three weeks later sprouts will appear and after 12 months the sugar cane is ready to harvest.

     

     

  • Collecting Sugar Cane

    Collecting

    The cane pieces are loaded into bins which are towed alongside the harvester. When full, the bins are taken by road or tramway to the sugar mill.

Producing Sugar Crystals

To produce sugar crystals the mill has to follow several stages, from the arrival of the raw sugar cane to the point it gets shipped out in several thousands tonnes to sugar refineries.

  • Sugar Cane Juice Extraction

    Juice Extraction

    The sugar cane arrives at the processing mill without leaves. The stalks are washed, cut up and shredded and juice is pressed from them using high pressure rollers. Hot water is added to improve juice extraction; the remaining dry stalks (bagasse) are burnt in the mill’s boilers to produce sustainable electricity.

  • Natural Sugar Cane Juice Purification

    Juice Purification

    The sweet natural juice is heated to 80°C and lime is added to purify and neutralise it. Fine fibre particles form a scum on the juice surface; other mineral matter sticks to the lime and settles as sediment. These solids are filtered from the juice and returned to the cane fields as natural fertiliser.

     

  • Raw Sugar Cane Juice Evaporation

    Evaporation

    Evaporators then boil the raw juice in a vacuum, heating it to a temperature of between 70°C and 130°C for up to two hours. This evaporates the natural water, creating a very sweet thick amber juice.

  • Sugar Crystallisation Massecuite Syrup

    Crystallisation

    The amber juice is then seeded with tiny sugar crystals, and again boiled under vacuum, which allows the crystals to grow to create a super-saturated massecuite syrup. During this process the natural raw colour, flavour and aroma of molasses is formed.

     

  • Centrifugal Machines Sugar Separation

    Sugar separation

    Centrifugal machines spin the massecuite syrup (at 1,050 rpm) for two minutes to separate the crystals from the liquid. The separated syrup still contains a lot of sugar, so it’s spun four times to extract the maximum amount of raw sugar. The first and second spins produce sugar, shipped in bulk for white sugar refining. The third and fourth spins are mixed with a magma of molasses to produce affinated and muscovado sugars, used to produce special sugars.

     

  • Drying, Sieving & Bagging Raw Sugar

    Drying, Sieving & Bagging

    Once the sugar crystals are separated, they enter a drum rotating drier and are cooled. Raw sugar is loaded into lorries for delivery to the port terminal. Special sugars are passed over a vibrating screen and through a rare earth magnet, to remove foreign particles, before being packed into bags.

     

  • Bulk Sugar Shipments

    Bulk Shipments

    At the port terminal, lorries discharge the bulk sugar onto a conveyor system, which stores the sugar in a warehouse that can hold up to 80,000 tonnes of sugar. The raw sugar is loaded onto ships that can hold between 15 and 30,000 tonnes. The sugar is delivered to sugar refineries, where further clarification takes place to produce refined white sugar.

     

Processing Sugar

We manufacture our sugar products from natural raw materials according to rigorous quality standards, producing sugars of consistently high quality.

  • Sourcing Sugar Supplier Mills & Refineries

    Sourcing

    We source our sugars from certified supplier mills and refineries all over the world. The sugar arrives in thousand kilo bags inside metal cargo containers, which are taken directly from the ships to our Berkshire factory.

  • Sugar Quality Checks

    Quality Checks

    All delivery trucks go to our weighbridge to check quantities. Then our laboratory tests the sugar to determine it’s of the quality we insist on. It’s unloaded and stored in our state of the art warehouse. From here the sugar can either go to soft sugar production or remain in its natural unrefined form.

     

  • Unrefined Sugar Screening

    Screening

    We pass unrefined sugars through a large drier to remove any moisture and then screen it through a 1.8 to 2.5mm sieve to remove carbonised sugar or any large crystals. We then pass it under powerful magnets to remove any metal particles.

     

     

  • Manufacturing Soft Sugars

    Soft Sugars

    To manufacture soft sugars we send the raw sugar to the blender after sieving and metal detection; the raw sugar is mixed with refiner’s syrup to coat the crystals with an adhering film.

  • Sugar Distribution

    Distribution

    The sugar is then packed into 25 or thousand kilo bags, passed through another metal detector, and delivered to our customers around the world.

Crystalline Sugars

Ragus specialises in the manufacture of three categories of crystalline sugars: Raw Sugars (which include Demerara, Raw Cane and Golden Granulated Sugar), Soft Brown Sugar and Muscovado Sugar.

  • Raw Sugars

    Raw Sugars

    Raw Sugars are formed from the natural juices extracted by crushing sugarcane. The juices are filtered, crystallised and dried, giving the sugar a mellow flavour and distinctive colour. Demerara and Raw Cane Sugars have a coarse crystal with a mellow flavour and amber colour, whereas Golden Granulated Sugar is made from juice that has been filtered more, to produce a mild flavour and golden colour. The free-flowing finer crystal size dissolves more easily.

  • Soft Brown Sugar

    Soft Brown Sugar

    Soft Brown Sugar is produced with a fine caster-size crystal and coated with a distinctive blend of refiner’s syrup and treacle. This gives it an amber or a dark brown colour and a strong flavour profile, while the finer textured crystal size rapidly dissolves.

     

     

  • Muscovado Sugar

    Muscovado sugar

    Muscovado Sugar is unrefined cane sugar with a fine caster-size crystal. It’s stickier than other sugars due to its naturally high levels of molasses, which give a rich brown colour and characteristic toffee-treacle flavour. It offers resistance to high temperatures and has a long shelf life, meaning that it can be used as one ingredient to replace both white sugar and molasses.

     

     

Processing Syrup

We manufacture our pure syrups from natural raw materials according to rigorous quality standards, producing liquid sugars and invert syrups of consistently high quality.

  • Sourcing Syrup Sugar Supplier Mills & Refineries

    Sourcing

    We source our sugars from certified supplier mills and refineries all over the world. The sugar arrives in thousand kilo bags inside metal cargo containers, which are taken directly from the ships to our Berkshire factory.

  • Syrup Sugar Quality ChecksSyrup Sugar Quality Checks

    Quality Checks

    All delivery trucks go to our weighbridge to check quantities. Then our laboratory tests the sugar to determine it’s of the quality we insist on. It’s unloaded and stored in our state of the art warehouse.

  • Sugar Inversion

    Inversion

    The sugar crystals are dissolved in large inversion pans by heating the sucrose solution to over 70°C. When the solution reaches a sugar content of 66%, it can be called liquid sugar. This can then be inverted (hydrolysed or broken down into fructose and glucose) by applying a solution of acid or enzymes, making the syrup acidic (with a pH value of 1.6).When the desired ratio of sucrose to glucose (dextrose) /fructose is achieved to a polarisation of -20, we neutralise the syrup with sodium carbonate, bringing its pH value to between 5.0 and 6.0. The syrup is now what we call fully inverted (95% invert sugar (fructose and glucose) and 5% sucrose).It can be kept in this state or we can add more sugar to produce a Partial Invert Syrup (44% sucrose-56% invert).

     

     

  • Syrup Filtering

    Filtering

    The syrup is then passed through a 40 to 50 micron (one micron is one millionth of a metre) filter to remove any unwanted gums, waxes, minerals or metal that might have been attached to the sugar crystal.

     

     

  • Syrup Distribution

    Distribution

    From here the syrup can either go to be used in soft sugar production or pumped to our maturation/holding tanks. When ready the syrup will be decanted through 80 micron filters, and packed into containers ranging from 7 kilo sizes to 25,000 kilo road tankers and sent customers around the world.

     

     

REFINERY SYRUPS

Ragus specialises in manufacturing five types of Refinery Syrup Formulations: Golden Syrup, Cane Treacle, Liquid Sugars, Molasses and Invert Syrups.

  • Partially Inverted Refiner's Syrup & Golden Syrup

    Refiner’s Syrup

    Golden Syrup and Refiner’s Syrup are partially inverted syrups, created by hydrolysing (breaking down) sugar (sucrose) to glucose (dextrose) and fructose. This glucose-fructose, or invert, has a sweetness value approximately 20% greater than sucrose. Partially Inverted Syrup has a lower water activity than sucrose, so inverted syrups have greater preserving qualities (shelf life), reducing crystallisation and withstanding higher cooking temperatures, while adding a distinctive flavour and colour.

  • Cane Treacle

    Cane Treacle

    Cane Treacle is produced using molasses that contains higher levels of sucrose (30-40%) mixed with inverted sugars (15-30%) contributing to a more rounded, smoother flavour profile than conventional molasses.

  • Liquid Sugar

    Liquid Sugar

    These are water-based sucrose solutions with a dry substance content of 66%, which can be made from white refined or raw sugars. Owing to the relatively low sugar content, they must be stored in dry ambient conditions, and have a short shelf life. Liquid Sugars are microbiologically stable for up to three weeks. Applications vary from sweetening to bulking (“mouth feel”).

     

     

  • Molasses

    Molasses

    Molasses is extracted from the cane sugar juice residues created when the sugar cane juice is boiled to extract as much sucrose as possible from raw sugar. These residues are very dark and contain trace minerals, as well as invert sugars and colours that make up the natural raw flavour and aroma of molasses. It has a strong, robust bittersweet flavour.

     

     

  • Invert Sugars

    Invert Sugars

    Invert Sugars are created by hydrolysing, or breaking down, sugar (sucrose) into fructose and glucose (dextrose) by heating a solution of sucrose and applying a solution of acid or enzymes. This makes the solution acidic (with a pH value of 1.6). When the desired level of inversion (ratio of sucrose to glucose/fructose) is achieved, we neutralise the syrup with sodium carbonate. Invert Sugar has a lower water activity than sucrose, so inverts have greater preserving qualities (shelf life) and reduce crystallisation. Partial Invert contains 44% sucrose and 56% invert, and has a sweetness value approximately 20% greater than sucrose. Its shelf life is approximately eighteen months, depending on storage and climatic conditions. Invert contains 95% invert and 5% sucrose, and has a sweetness value approximately 40% greater than sucrose. Its shelf life is approximately six weeks, depending on storage and climatic conditions.Invert Sugars are used to keep icings and fondants moist, as they need a soft texture, and to help ice cream and sorbets scoop by depressing their freezing point.

     

Processing Molasses

We manufacture our molasses from natural raw materials according to rigorous quality standards, producing molasses of consistently high quality.

  • Sourcing Molasses Supplier Mills & Refineries

    Sourcing

    Molasses is sourced from certified supplier mills and refineries all over the world. It’s delivered in tanker ships and pumped into holding silos at the port when it arrives. It’s kept at a specific temperature as it’s transported in road tankers, and taken to our weighbridge to check quantities.

  • Molasses Quality Checks

    Quality Checks

    Then our laboratory tests the Molasses to make sure it’s of the quality we insist on. It’s placed in holding tanks at temperature prior to processing.

  • Molasses Processing

    Processing

    The raw Molasses is pumped into evaporating vats where it is heated to over 80°C, purified and adjustments are made to sugar content and the acidity level, depending on the final product required.

  • Molasses Filtering

    Filtering

    It’s then passed through a 300 micron filter to remove any remaining impurities. From here the Molasses can be sent to inversion pans for syrup production or to the blending plant for use in creating soft sugars. The Molasses is cooled to a specific temperature and matured in holding tanks.

     

     

  • Molasses Distribution

    Distribution

    When ready the Molasses is decanted through 80 micron filters, and packed into containers ranging from 7 kilo sizes to 25,000 kilo road tankers and delivered to customers around the world.

CUSTOMISED FORMULATIONS

With over 85 years’ experience sourcing and producing a huge range of specialist products, Ragus is constantly creating unique sugar products for custom applications.

  • Sugar & Glucose Custom Blends

    Creating Custom Blends

    Ragus’ highly specialised team creates blends of sugar and glucose to particular customer specifications. These blends deliver consistent colour development, texture softening, flavour enhancement, binding of component ingredients and stability, for precise control of a specific formulation. Sugar-glucose blends are ideal for pharmaceutical syrup and elixir suspensions and medicated confectionery.

  • Glucose Syrup

    Glucose Syrup

    Glucose Syrups are created by hydrolysing maize or wheat; this means heating a starch solution and applying a solution of acid or enzymes to break down the starch.The syrup is neutralised when the desired level of dextrose equivalent (DE) is reached. This creates a transparent viscous syrup with a sweet taste and neutral odour. Glucose syrups of different sweetness levels are used in the food and brewing industry for a range of applications, taking advantage of qualities like high viscosity (giving volume or chewiness), low water activity (increasing shelf life) and high levels of fermentable extract (an advantage in brewing).

     

  • Raw Cane & Demerara Brewing Sugars

    Brewing Sugars

    Brewing Sugars are produced from Raw Cane and Demerara Sugars, with colours ranging from light brown amber to dark brown, and with flavours ranging from mellow to robust treacle. They are fully inverted products; in liquid form they consist of 95% invert and 5% sucrose, while in crystalline block form they contain 75% invert, 5% sucrose and20% dextrose. Brewing Sugars are used for either economic reasons to produce the correct balance of colour and flavours, or as a nitrogen diluent to help clarify beer. They are 95% readily fermentable; lighter coloured types are used in brewing lager and pale ale, medium coloured in bitter and strong ale, and darker ones in mild ale, stouts and porters. Overuse of sugar, or using a mash with high levels of maltose, will produce thin beer. Adding dextrose or glucose can impart body and a nutty flavour. The higher the concentration of unfermented dextrose, the fruitier the beer will taste. When fermentation is complete, additional ‘priming’ sugar can be added to start secondary fermentation and increase flavour.

     

     

  • Caramelised Syrups

    Caramelised Syrups

    These are produced by controlled heating of a sugar solution, at approximately 170°C. As the water evaporates, sugar molecules break down into difructose anhydride, creating compounds that contribute to flavour and a very dark brown appearance – this process is called caramelisation. Caramelised Syrups are used for colour and flavour development in dairy products, drinks, ice creams, puddings, savoury sauces and toffee. The required declaration for use in colour development is caramel E150a or Plain Caramel, and for flavour development is Caramel or Caramelised Sugar.

     

     

  • Organic & Fairtrade Products

    Organic & Fairtrade

    We can offer most of our extensive product range in both organic and Fairtrade versions: Golden Syrup, Refiner’s Syrup, Invert Syrup, Liquid Sugars, Molasses, Unrefined Raw Cane Sugar and White Cane Sugar (120 ICUMSA max). Ragus works closely with selected cane growers in developing countries as well as ethical movements, to ensure sugars are GMO free, with sustainable crop management certified to internationally recognised standards.