Companies in this industry produce raw sugar from sugar cane, refine raw cane sugar, and produce refined beet sugar from sugar beets. Major companies include Amalgamated Sugar, American Crystal Sugar, Fanjul Corp, Imperial Sugar, and US Sugar (all based in the US); as well as Cosan and Copersucar (both in Brazil); Nippon Beet Sugar Manufacturing (Japan); Nordzucker and Südzucker (both in Germany); Royal Cosun (Netherlands); Tereos (France); and Tongaat Hulett (South Africa).
Demand is driven by domestic sugar consumption and government controls on imports and pricing. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations and cost controls. Large companies have economies of scale in production and distribution. Small companies can compete effectively by serving local markets. The US industry is highly concentrated: the eight largest companies account for more than 70% of industry revenue.
Products, Operations & Technology
The major product of sugar manufacturers is refined sugar (sucrose) for industrial and consumer use. Sugar is produced in various forms, including granulated, powdered, liquid, brown, and molasses. The basic production method is to dissolve sucrose out of those plants that concentrate it naturally in their stem or roots, and then remove impurities and water. Sugar cane and sugar beets are the major plants used. Sugar beets and sugar cane each account for about half of total US sugar production, according to the American Sugar Alliance. Sugar cane grows mainly in subtropical and tropical regions, sugar beets in colder climates.