Our sugar refineries
The sugar refinery in Tulln was opened in 1937. The site in Tulln is nowadays home to the administration department of AGRANA Zucker GmbH as well as the central sugar storage facility in which all of the products obtainable under the Wiener Zucker brand in Austria are manufactured, packaged and fully automatically stored in and shipped from a high-bay warehouse with a capacity of around 8,000 tonnes of sugar. Europe’s second largest sugar silo, with a capacity of around 70,000 tonnes, is located in Tulln.
The sugar refinery in Leopoldsdorf, built in 1901/02, was originally intendet for processing raw sugar. It was converted to a white sugar refinery in 1925. The Leopoldsdorf facility mainly ships sugar in bulk or packaged quantities (bis bags or 50 kg bags) to the food processing industry.
The AGRANA subsidiary Magyar Cukor Zrt.operates Hungary‘s largest sugar refinery, located in Kaposvár. The processing capacity amounts to 7,000 tonnes of sugar beet per day. In order to adequately supply the Hungarian market, raw sugar is also refined in Kaposvár to make white sugar. In Kaposvár, there is also one of the largest biogas plants in Europe. This plant is able to provide around 80% of the primary energy needs of the sugar factory by means of biogas produced on site during the sugar beet campaign. AGRANA is a leading player in the Hungarian food sector with the Koronás Cukor brand.
Hrušovany und Opava
Moravskoslezské cukrovary a.s., AGRANA’s subsidiary in the Czech Republic, refines at total of 9,300 tonnes of sugar beet per day at its facilities in Hrušovany and Opava , sugar which is subsequently distributed under the brand name »Korunní Cukr«. AGRANA has developed to become a key market player in this country.
During the most recent campaign, the sugar factory of AGRANA’s Slovakian subsidiary, Slovenské cukrovary, s.r.o., in Sered‘, processed around 4,800 tonnes of sugar beet per day to make sugar which is sold on the Slovakian market under the »Korunný Cukor« brand.
Roman und Buzău
S.C. AGRANA Romania S.A. operates two sugar factories in Romania which mainly refine raw sugar. The raw cane sugar grown in emerging markets such as Brazil and Thailand is shipped to Romania and processed to make white sugar at the AGRANA facilities. In addition to refining raw sugar, the factory in ROMAN also processes up to 5,400 tonnes of sugar beet per day. The factory in BUZĂU operates exclusively as a raw sugar refinery. The white sugar manufactured by AGRANA under the Mărgăritar Zahăr brand is sold in the Romanian retail market.
The STUDEN-AGRANA raw sugar refinery in Brčko is a joint venture in which AGRANA and its long-standing distribution partner in the West Balkan region, Studen & Co Holding GmbH, both hold 50% stakes. This plant has a processing capacity of around 650 tonnes of raw sugar per day. The sugar produced by STUDEN-AGRANA is marketed throughout the entire West Balkan region and Slovenia under the AGRAGOLD brand.
From beet to sugar
the smallest sugar factory
THE SUGAR BEET PLANT (beta vulgaris saccharifera)
is a biennial plant belonging to the goosefoot family. The taproot, the so-called beet, which is used to produce sugar, forms during the growing phase in the first year. A flower and seeds form during the growing phase of the second year. This relies on the sugar stored in the beet. With a sugar concentration of 16 to 20%, the sugar beet offers the highest yield among sugar-producing plants (sugar beet and sugar cane). The water content is around 75%.
LEAVES OF THE SUGAR BEET
With the aid of solar energy and the chlorophyll in its leaves, the sugar beet plant converts carbon dioxide from the air, water and minerals in the soil into sugar. This process is called photosynthesis. The sugar beet foliage are left on the fields during harvesting.
HEAD OF THE SUGAR BEET
The head of the sugar beet plant, from where the leaves branch off, contains many non-sugar materials and therefore needs to be removed during harvesting.
ROOT OF THE SUGAR BEET
The sugar produced during photosynthesis is stored in the root of the sugar beet. The lighter areas are those in which the concentration of sugar is particularly high.
This does not involve the use of any additives. The sugar is purified by means of several recrystallisation processes to obtain pure, clear crystals which appear white due to the refraction of light. The sucrose content of these crystals is nearly 100%. Sugar is therefore a high-purity foodstuff with an almost unlimited shelf life if stored appropriately.
SUGAR FACTS & FICTION
SUGAR: A PURE NATURAL PRODUCT
Sugar is obtained from sugar beet without the use of additives and is therefore a pure form of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are our bodies’ preferred source of energy. A balanced diet consists of 50 to 55 % carbohydrates, 10 to 15 % proteins and 30 to 35 % fats.
Sugar as a source of energy
The beet sugar produced at the AGRANA sites consists of nearly 100% pure sucrose. Sucrose is a disaccharide which is formed from the chemical building blocks of fructose and glucose. All forms of sugar, also including maltose and lactose besides sucrose, are converted by our bodies into glucose, which is a valuable source of energy. Sugar is therefore a valuable source of energy and new strength which organisms need, particularly after physical exercise.
SUGAR AND CARIES
It is not sugar but a lack of oral hygiene which is responsible for tooth decay (caries)! All carbohydrates, regardless of whether from apples, bread or rice, encourage the formation of acid in the mouth. The type of carbohydrates plays a less important role in the formation of caries than the frequency carbohydrates are consumed and how long these carbohydrates are in contact with the teeth. If you clean your teeth regularly (that means at least twice a day) with toothpaste containing fluoride, you can avoid tooth problems.
IS BROWN SUGAR HEALTHIER THAN WHITE SUGAR?
Brown sugar may look healthier and more natural than white sugar, but this is not the case from a health perspective. Brown sugar is essentially white sugar to which syrup residues are still attached. While white sugar is crystallised several times and purified with water, brown sugar from sugar beet gets its colour from and its distinctive taste through the addition of raw sugar syrup and caramelised crystallised sugar. Brown cane sugar, on the other hand, is only partially refined, as a result of which it retains its brown colour and the typical taste of cane sugar.
SUGAR COMPARED WITH HONEY
The case with honey is similar. Honey largely consists of various sugars, such as fructose and glucose, as well as minerals and traces of vitamins. These minerals are inadequate to meet our mineral requirements and, vis-a-vis other forms of sugar, do not provide any notable nutritional advantages.
SUGAR – A CAUSE OF OBESITY?
Sugar has no particular characteristics which justify labelling it as a primary cause of obesity. On the contrary: The conversion of carbohydrates, and therefore also sugar, into body fat is a process which requires more energy than the conversion of fats from food into body fat. The only people who become fat are those who eat too much as a whole and who take too little exercise. One gram of sugar has the same number of calories as one gram of protein, i. e. 4 kcal, and therefore less than half that of one gram of fat (9 kcal). A sugar cube, for example, doesn’t have more than 15 kcal (63 kJ).
SUGAR AND NUTRIENTS
The key is combination. Sugar exists almost exclusively of pure sucrose, which is why it is often – inaccurately – regarded as being a supplier of ‘empty’ calories and a vitamin killer. However: Sugar is not consumed in isolation. It is used as a sweetener in combination with other foodstuffs. The concern that sugar doesn’t provide any other nutrients such as vitamins or minerals is therefore unwarranted. In fact: The sweetness provided by sugar makes many other nutrient-rich but otherwise tasteless foodstuffs more palatable.
Does Sugar Cause Diabetes?
People who often eat sweet foods do not automatically become diabetics. Diabetes, more specifically type 2 diabetes, is one of the most common lifestyle diseases of our times. People who are overweight and do little exercise have a significantly higher risk of developing this form of diabetes. Genetic factors, however, may also play a certain role.
According to the Austrian Diabetes Association1, the most effective means of preventing type 2 diabetes is a change in diet and physical activity. Diabetics can source between 45 and 60 % of their entire energy requirements in the form of carbohydrates. Preference should be given to vegetables, wholemeal products, pulses and fruit.
A complete avoidance of sucrose is no longer recommended but your sugar intake should not exceed 10 % of your diet. This is in line with the current WHO guideline (recommendation: 50g, restricted recommendation: 25g)2
1 Diabetes Mellitus, Practical Guidelines 2016
2 World Health Organization (2015): Sugar intake for adults and children