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- Which is the difference between the white and raw sugar?
- Which are the physical and chemical properties of sugar?
- How does sugar is made?
- How does a quality sugar is determinated?
- What are the special sugars?
- Is there a deadline for sugar consumption?
- Does sugar helps to gain weight?
- What is it exactly, the refined sugar ?



Which is the difference between the white and raw sugar?

Difference in color between the two sugars does not come from the plant used, but from the purity level of sucrose.

Actually, the beet sugar mills produce almost exclusively white sugar obtained from the first cycle of crystallization.

Prolonged heating during subsequent cycles causes the formation of colored compounds like candy.


Due to the presence of dye precursors in the stalk of the cane, the first jet of sugar cane (first crystallization cyclehas color. When it is sold in this condition, brown sugar takes the name of "cassonnade".

However, the bulk of the production of raw sugar is shipped to refineries that will remove coloring ingredients to produce white sugar.



Which are the physical and chemical properties of sugar?

Sucrose is a disaccharide composed of one glucose and one fructose molecule.
Its molecular formula is C12H22O11, and its molecular weight is 342g/mol.

Sucrose has the property to deflect polarized
plane of light to the right (optical rotation is "rightward").
Very soluble in water at 0 ° C,
180 g sugar can be dissolved in 100 g of pure water.

When heated to dry, it begins to melt at approximately 160 ° C, and then converted into
candy before burning at 190-200 ° C, obtaining a carbon sugar residue.

Under the action of temperature and pH, the sucrose solution is hydrolyzed by releasing molecules of glucose and fructose. This new blend is called "inverted sugar."


How does sugar is made?

Sugar (sucrose) is extracted from sugar beet or sugar cane.

These plants have the property of storing sucrose, which is the result of the chlorophyll synthesis and the cell storage in aqueous solution without altering the composition. These plants accumulate the level of sugar in the beet root or at the stalk of sugar cane.

Sugar beet is a biennial plant. In the European metropolitan area, almost all
produced sugar comes from sugar beets. Harvesting takes place from September campaign lasting two up to three months on average per year.

The cane requires high levels of sunlight and heat that are not possible in France.

The sugar industry principle is separation, which allows to isolate the other components of the sugar beet or sugar cane. This separation is made possible through a several of operations:

     The reception and washing
allow to remove external impurities (dirt, rocks, plant remains, ...)

     Diffusion is the extraction of sugar from cells of sugar cane or beet, limiting the transfer of impurities.

     Purification and filtration removes the dissolved impurities.

     Evaporation and crystallization remove water and lead to the sugar that we consume.

     Drying and packaging complete this long journey made ​​from the beet or cane sugar.



How does a quality sugar is determinated?

To determine the quality of sugar, all countries agreed to respect the following criteria of analysis:

  •     sugar purity
  •     the appearance or color type
  •     the solution color
  •     ash content


The purity of a sugar, is obtained by measuring the degree of polarization that is obtained in degrees or in% sugar, it indicates the content of pure sucrose. Furthermore, the quality of sugar is estimated in an international plan of polarimetry and is expressed in %. Raw sugar (or brown) has less than 99.5%, while the white sugar will have more than 99.5% [Analysis ICUMSA Method GS 2/3-1 * (1994)].
To be labeled as "white sugar", the polarization of the sugar must be more than 99.5%!

The European community uses three additional criteria for determining the quality of sugar: the type of color, color in the solution and the ash content.

All these qualities are measured according to specific analysis
methods that allow to classify white sugar in four categories.
It is important to know that about a quarter of beet sugar produced in France comes under the category 1 (the highest quality), and the other three quarters are category 2.
This means that the French beet contains more than 99.7% pure sucrose.


(*) ICUMSA (International Commission for Uniform Methods of Analysis beet) is a global organization that brings together the activities of the National Committees for Sugar Analysis in more than thirty member countries.



What are the special sugars?

These include, for example, the "vergeoise", which is obtained by a long cooking of sugar during crystallization cycles. Its color and fragrance are the result of the formation of colored ingredients, as caramel while heating.

Brown sugar is extracted directly from sugarcane juice, is a crystallized brown sugar flavored like rum.

M
eanwhile,"sugar candy" is obtained by a slow and prolonged crystallization (approximately ten days) from a hot concentrated sugar syrup.

For icing sugar, its characteristic white powder is obtained by grinding crystallized sugar. Then starch or silica is added to prevent lumps.

Finally, we can also mention: liquid sugar, sugar for jam (with pectin and citric acid added to accelerate the
gel formation), sugar cubes or sugar loaf.



Is there a deadline for sugar consumption?

The crystallized sugar, is also called "sugars in solid form," are not subject to the labeling including a durability date.

Because of the lack of moisture in granulated sugar, there is no microbiological risk, therefore there is no consumption Deadline (DLC) for sugar.

In terms of taste, granulated sugar is extremely stable, which also dispenses the labeling of a Deadline of Optimal Utilization (BBD).

The European Directive on labeling CE/79/112 as been recently amended by the European Directive EC 200/13 (1), In fact it is established a list of foodstuffs exempt from such labeling, this list contains the "sugar in solid form "

(1) EC 200/13 dated 20 March 2000, published May 6, 2000.



Does sugar helps to gain weight?

If sugar is taken without excess sugar is not fattening.

Moreover, a lump of sugar contains only 28 kcal.

It's only because of an excessive and repeated sugar eating habits that can ultimately be detrimental to health.

The point is to control and balance the weakness for sweet things and real needs.

A good diet consists in 30 to 35% fat, 10-15% protein and 50-55% carbohydrates.



What is it exactly, the refined sugar ?

Beet or cane sugar
- There is only one sugar extraction process:
In a sugar mill, the beet or cane sugar juice is collected and then is filtered, later is concentrated by evaporation prior to crystallization.
- White sugar and brown sugar, one major difference:
Beet sugar comes naturally white, while cane sugar crystallizes with a color that goes from blond to brown, due to pigments present only in the cane sugar.

Brown cane sugar becomes white ...: refining
To become white, brown cane sugar is melted and cleared of any colour in a refinery: there is no chemical modification.
Only the white cane sugar is a refined sugar.

Some statistics...
• 92% of sugar sales in France are of white beet sugar (unrefined).
• Brown sugar cane, also called "brown sugar", represents only 4%.
• White sugar cane (the only refined sugar) is 4% of sugar sold in France.

Conclusion ...
• Beet sugar is unrefined.
• France has: 25 beet sugar mills and one refinery.