About Sugar

What is sugar? "Sugar" refers to sucrose, a carbohydrate found naturally in fruits and vegetables. Sucrose is the major product of photosynthesis, a natural process that turns sunlight into energy. Sucrose is the most abundant sugar found in nature, and occurs in the greatest quantities in sugar cane and sugar beets.

There is no bleaching agent added at any time during the refining process. Sugar contains no artificial preservatives, colourings or any other additives. Pure sucrose crystals are naturally white. During the refining process, the natural sugar that is stored in the sugar cane stalk (or beet root) is separated from the rest of the plant material. The juice is purified, filtered, concentrated and dried in a series of steps to produce pure sucrose.

Cane Refining Process

Before it comes to Canada, sugar cane is partially refined into raw sugar at mills operated near the sugar fields. Sugar cane has to be processed rapidly after being cut.

  • Raw Sugar

    After it is harvested sugar cane is cut and crushed to extract the juice. The juice is then heated, partially purified and concentrated until the sugar crystallizes. This crystallized raw sugar is then shipped to our refineries in Montreal and Vancouver.

  • Cleaning

    Raw sugar is melted and filtered to become liquor that is then purified and decolourised to remove plant residues, waxes and soil residues.

  • Filtering

    The clarified sugar liquor is now passed through filters to remove suspended solids and remaining colour.

  • Crystallisation

    A majority of the water is evaporated from the sugar liquor, followed by boiling in large vacuum pans. At the end of the cycle, the vacuum pan contains a mixture of sugar crystals and syrup.

  • Drying

    Centrifugals separate the crystals of sugar from the syrup. The crystals are dried and stored in silos until required for packaging or shipment to customers.

  • Packaging

    The sugar is now ready to be packed in various sizes, from large 1 tonne industrial bags or small 2 kg paper bags that you find at the grocery store.

Beet Refining Process

Harvesting of the sugar beet crop begins each year in September. Growers deliver the beets to one of seven receiving points located in southern Alberta.

  • Harvesting & Slicing

    Our beet sugar factory in Taber processes sugar beets grown in southern Alberta. They are first harvested, sent to our plant and sliced into thin, noodle-like strips called cossettes. The cossettes are mixed with juice and pumped to the extraction tower.

  • Extraction

    The sugar is extracted from the cossettes by diffusion. The sugar-containing juice leaves the bottom of the tower while the exhausted cossettes (now called pulp and containing less than 0.3% sugar) are dischargedand and made into pellets which are sold for animal feed.

  • Purification

    The raw juice from the extraction must first be purified before the sugar can be crystallized. This is done using lime and carbon dioxide gas. Impurities present in the juice (originating with the sugar beets) are precipitated by the lime and carbon dioxide gas and then removed by filtration.

  • Crystallisation

    After purification, the juice is concentrated to remove water and then boiled in large vacuum pans. At the end of the cycle, the vacuum pan contains a mixture of sugar crystals and syrup.

  • Drying

    Centrifugals separate the crystals of sugar from the syrup. The crystals are dried and stored in silos until required for packaging or shipment to customers.

  • Packaging

    The sugar is now ready to be packed in various sizes, from large 1 tonne industrial bags or small 2 kg paper bags that you find at the grocery store.

Dry Blending

We have a dedicated facility located in Scarborough ON, to handle dry blending of ingredients and finished products. The plant is FSSC 22000 V3 certified as well as federal dairy certified. The plant is equipped with blenders segregated in individual rooms, as well as packaging capabilities to handle anything from 1 MT tote bags, to 10kg/25kg bags, retail composite canisters, bag in box as well as pouch fill.

By-Products

Cane sugar and beet sugar refining processes produce two very unique by-products. Blackstrap molasses is the by-product from cane sugar refining process. It is a non-food grade product which is sold to yeast manufacturers. Beet pulp is the other by-product from beet sugar refining process, and is mostly used for livestock feed.

FAQs

What is the difference between beet sugar and cane sugar?
There is no difference between beet and cane sugar, other than the source. Both are pure sucrose, produced from two different plants. Cane sugar is extracted from the stalks of the sugar cane plant while beet sugar is extracted from the roots of the sugar beet plant. While the production process is different, the end result is the same. Both are equivalent in sweetness.
Where are sugar beets grown in Canada?
At one time sugar beets were grown in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario. Today, all beet sugar marketed in Canada is grown in southern Alberta.
What is the difference between brown and white sugar?
Brown or yellow sugars contain granulated sugar plus a small amount of molasses. Some of these sugars are produced by boiling a special syrup in a vacuum pan, while others are produced by adding a cane syrup to refined white granulated sugar in a mixer. The cane syrups provide the unique flavor to these “soft” sugars.
Is animal bone char used in the production of sugar from sugar cane or beets?
Bone char is not used at the Taber’s sugar beet factory or at Montreal’s cane refinery. While bone char is used at the Vancouver refinery, it is only used in a certain stage of the process to filter out impurities before further filtration and crystallization into sugar granules occurs. It is not present in any of the finished products produced by the Vancouver refinery.
Is sugar bleached during processing to produce “white” sugar?
No, sugar is not bleached during processing. Sugar-containing syrups extracted from either cane or beet are decolourized during the process using bone char (Vancouver only), ion exchange or lime purification but no bleach is used.
Is the sugar produced by Lantic Inc. certified Kosher ?
Yes, all of the sugar products produced by Lantic Inc. are certified Kosher.
Why is starch used in icing sugar? What type of starch is used?
A small amount of starch is added to icing sugar to prevent caking in storage. Icing sugar produced by Lantic contains corn starch. Corn starch is gluten-free.
What is the shelf life of sugar?
When stored under dry conditions, granulated white sugar has an indefinite shelf life because there is insufficient moisture to support microbial growth.
How should brown sugar be stored?
Brown sugar will harden when exposed to air. For optimum storage life, store this sugar in a tightly sealed container. If the sugar turns hard, add a piece of bread or a slice of apple to the container. The sugar will soften once again.
How many calories in a teaspoon of sugar?
Sugar provides 15 calories per teaspoon (4 grams), or less than 4 calories per gram. In comparison, fats supply about 9 calories per gram.
Looking for more information?
For more information, visit the Canadian Sugar Institute website