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Sharp decline in sugar production in Europe

Do you often have a sweet tooth? Or does sugar play a decisive role in your production? If so, bitter times could soon be upon us. This is because the poor European sugar beet harvest in autumn 2020 means that sugar production will be up to 10% lower than in the previous year. After deducting UK production, the figure is as much as 15 % lower. This is confirmed by figures from the European Commission and calculations by the sugar manufacturer Pfeifer & Langen.

Bad sugar prices and little yield

According to Dr. Hermann Josef Schmitz, Head of Agriculture at Pfeifer & Langen, the sugar industry will no longer be able to serve the food industry from last year’s beet harvest by August 2021.

Due to the bad sugar prices and the low-yield harvest of sugar beet, 5 production sites in the two producing countries, Germany and France, have already had to close. In Poland, on the other hand, coupled aid has increased cultivation by an estimated 10,000 hectares.

Why was the sugar beet harvest so bad in France?

Not only the dryness the previous year played a crucial role, but also the Infestation of the beets with the yellowing virus . These two factors led to the worst crop yield for around 20 years .

And production is not immune to problems elsewhere either: The Cercospora leaf spot disease attacked the sensitive beet leaves in Poland. In Germany, as in France, the yellowing virus and the weather were problematic for the harvest. It looked promising at first.

Less sugar for production

Due to the uncertainty in the corona pandemic, sugar prices moved beyond a possible price recovery. Although they are no longer as low as in 2019, the food industry is still ordering less sugar for production overall.

In order for sugar to continue to have economic benefits, the price must move closer to the reference. So recovery is inevitable. In October the actual value was with 381 euros per ton of white sugar far below that level.

Now the sweet times begin – good prospects for 2021

For this year Langen & Pfeifer expect stable sugar beet cultivation. Furthermore, the company wants to closely monitor the effects on the virus situation and compliance with the requirements. Schmitz assumes that emergency approvals will also be required in the coming year 2022. He calculates 3 to 5 years for the recovery of sugar beet cultivation with consistently good yields.

You don’t have to worry about your production even in the short term. Because Ehlert offers you a whole range of different sugars such as maltodextrin, raw cane sugar or potato starch. Vanilla or caramel? Give your food the sweetness it needs without having to rely on the sugar beet harvest. And with glucose and lactose you will find further alternatives to beet sugar in our online shop.

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