the journey 

of sugar

WHAT WE DO sugar as a traded commodity

sugar; how it is made and traded

WHAT WE DO sugar as a traded commodity

Almost 100 countries around the world produce a total of 180 million tonnes of sugar annually, of which around one-third is sold internationally.

Follow the journey of sugar...


topsoil and aggregate

Soil and stones recovered from washing beet can be reused, blended and sold as topsoil and aggregate


animal feed

Molasses is added to the remaining pulp before it is dried and formed into pellets that are sold in bulk as animal feed


Once the cane has had all the sugar extracted, the rest of the crushed stalk is used to fuel factory boilers for electricity generation


fertiliser and pH soil correction

Lime solids contain trace elements of potassium and magnesium, which is sold to growers as fertiliser and pH correction



A versatile co-product of the sugar manufacturing process, Molasses can be used for animal feed or fermented and distilled to produce potable alcohol or bioethanol

animal feed

Through a resin separation process, betaine and raffinate are produced, which are used in animal feed

renewable fuel

Yeast fermentation followed by distillation produces bioethanol, which is used as a renewable fuel

how is sugar traded?

Sugar is a primary product used in a variety of different industries. As such it is widely traded internationally. Like many other commodities, sugar is traded using futures contracts. These are agreements to buy or sell a certain amount of sugar at an agreed price on a date in the future. The two benchmark sugar contracts are the Sugar No. 11 contract, for raw (semi-refined) sugar, and the Sugar No. 5 contract, for refined ‘white’ sugar. 

The difference between raw and white sugar is due to the different crops involved. Sugar cane is usually semi-refined locally, then shipped ‘raw’ to the country of use where it is further refined. Making sugar from beet is a continuous process that produces white sugar at one location. 

Around two-thirds of traded sugar worldwide is raw sugar, with white sugar making up the rest. Some raw sugar is sold for direct consumption; this includes ‘brown’ sugars like Muscovado and Demerara.

Find out how demand is delivered through local regional production and globally traded exports here





two-thirds of

traded sugar

worldwide is

raw (cane) sugar...

...white (beet)

sugar makes

up the rest

For more on the sugar making process Click here
AB Sugar China Azucarera British Sugar Germains Seed Technology Illovo Sugar Group Vivergo Fuelds