Sugar (sucrose) is a carbohydrate that occurs naturally in every fruit and vegetable. It is a major product of photosynthesis, the process by which plants transform the sun’s energy into food. Sugar occurs in greatest quantities in sugarcane and sugar beets from which it is separated for commercial use. The natural sugar stored in the cane stalk or beet root is separated from rest of the plant material through a process known as refining.
For sugarcane, the process of refining is carried out in following steps:
- Pressing of sugarcane to extract the juice
- Boiling the juice until it begins to thicken and sugar begins to crystallize.
- Spinning the crystals in a centrifuge to remove the syrup, producing raw sugar.
- Shipping the raw sugar to a refinery where it is washed and filtered to remove remaining non-sugar ingredients and color.
- Crystallizing, drying and packaging the refined sugar.
Beet sugar processing is similar, but it is done in one continuous process without the raw sugar stage. The sugar beets are washed, sliced and soaked in hot water to separate the sugar -containing juice from the beet fiber. The sugar-laden juice is then purified, filtered, concentrated and dried in a series of steps similar to cane sugar processing.
For the sugar industry, capacity utilization is conceptually different from that applicable to industries in general. It depends on three crucial factors the actual number of ton of sugarcane crushed in a day, the recovery rate which generally depends on the quality of the cane and actual length of the crushing season.
Since cane is not transported to any great extent, the quality of the cane that a factory receives depends on its location and is outside its control. The length of the crushing season also depends upon location.
Granulated: Granulated sugar is the pure crystalline sucrose. It can be classified into seven types of sugar based on the crystal size. Most of these are used only by food processors and professional bakers. Each crystal size provides unique functional characteristics that make the sugar appropriate for the food processor’s special need.