Summary of our market study

French sugar consumption is around 2.2 million tonnes a year.

By 2020, world sugar consumption will reach 186.12 million tonnes, exceeding production and creating a deficit which, together with overproduction, has triggered a fall in world prices.

Asia dominates consumption, led by India and China, with 26.40 and 16.46 million tonnes respectively in 2020.

The market is highly volatile and heavily influenced by Brazil, which oscillates between sugar and ethanol production depending on its profitability.

The top ten producers, including Brazil and India, account for 75% of world production.

The European sugar sector is facing the abolition of quotas, which has led to market restructuring and plant closures.

Ethanol, in particular Superethanol-E85, has become a growing outlet for sugar.

Beet yellows, a spreading beet disease, and debates surrounding the use of neonicotinoids are having an impact on sugar production.

Demand trends on the sugar market

France is a major player on the world sugar market, with production accounting for nearly 3% of total world output.

Per capita consumption has been stable for the past 50 years, at around 35 kg per person. Despite this apparent stability, the market is experiencing crises of overproduction and falling prices following the liberalization of the European market, which eliminated quotas.

White sugar accounts for 70.6% of sales by value in France, while cane sugar accounts for 29.4%. Demand for organic and natural sugars is on the rise, with alternatives such as agave syrup and coconut sugar seeing a significant increase in sales.

The French market, as elsewhere in the world, has seen its sugar sales fall by around 15% in the space of a few years, as a result of anti-sugar campaigns. Consumer awareness of health problems is weighing on consumption. Organic beet production is on the rise.

The main operators have very significant market shares

Despite the general downward trend in sugar consumption, substitute products such as stevia and coconut sugar are gaining ground.

Players in the global sugar industry

  • Südzucker (Germany): German leader with a leading position in the European sugar market.
  • Mitr Phol (Thailand): Thai sugar company specializing in the production of sugar from sugar cane.
  • Tereos (France): A leading French agro-industrial cooperative, Tereos occupies a dominant position both nationally and internationally.
  • Raízen (Brazil): Reflecting Brazil's crucial influence on the sugar market, Raízen is a sugar and ethanol production company. Raízen makes strategic use of Brazil's vast sugarcane harvests.
  • ABSugar (United Kingdom): ABSugar, the sugar division of Associated British Foods, has a significant share of the UK market and is extending its reach beyond.

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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Presentation and definition of the sugar market

Sugar is a sweet flavor substance extracted from sugar plants .

The beets and the canes The majority of the sugar consumed in the world is produced from sugar, but it is possible to produce sugar in other ways, from coconut or maple trees for example.

The world sugar market is dominated by the Brazil and the India which alone account for a third of sugar production. The European Union is the world's third largest producer.

The world marketplace of sugar was estimated at 186.12 million tonnes in 2019 . For several years now, the sector has been characterised by a crisis of overproduction and a fall in prices s, accentuated in Europe by the quota ban in 2017 which led to an increase in supply and the alignment of European prices with world prices. In addition to the increase in European supply, the market is also suffering from foreign competition, notably from India and Thailand, which subsidise their industries.

France is following the global trend with a continuous decline in prices and sales from sugar manufacturing since 2017. In 2019 the market has thus declined by 14.8% in value .

However, France is the largest producer of beet sugar in the European Union . In France, sugar is produced from beet (in metropolitan France) or cane (West Indies, Reunion Island).

The French market is concentrated and dominated by French sugar groups Cristal Union and Tereos whose respective brands Daddy and Béguin Say are the most widely consumed in France. The company Saint Louis Sucre which was acquired in 2001 by the world's number one German company Südzucker is also very present in France.

The market is benefiting from growth levers, in particular the 'internationalization and the diversification and a strong dynamism in exports, with 2.6 million tonnes of sugar exported in 2019 . Finally, the organic segment and healthier innovations and alternatives are becoming increasingly successful, which market players can build on.


List of charts presented in this market study

  • World sugar market size
  • Geographical breakdown of sugar consumption
  • Main sugar producing countries
  • Répartition des ventes de sucre par type de sucre
  • Valeur des ventes des alternatives au sucre
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Latest news

Sugar in most foods, even salty foods - 19/03/2024
  • - In 2020, 77% of processed food products (both sweet and savoury) contained at least one sweetening ingredient.
  • - The frequency of use of sweetening ingredients has declined over the last ten years
  • - The food categories most likely to contain sweetening ingredients include sauces (94%), frozen snacks (87%), deli meats (84%), and fresh ready meals (71%).
  • - There has been a trend to reduce the use of sugar syrups and synthetic sweeteners, in favor of ingredients perceived as more natural, such as classic white sugar and fruit juices.
  • - For soft drinks, a significant reduction in sugar content has been observed since 2013.
Closure of the Tereos Haussimont plant in the Marne department - 07/09/2023
  • Tereos, the agri-food giant, is planning to close its potato starch processing plant in Haussimont (Marne), which employs 62 people.
  • This is the third Tereos site to be closed in the space of a few months.
  • The other two are the Escaudoeuvres sugar factory (Nord) and the Morains distillery (Marne).
  • France currently has just two starch plants: Haussimont and Vecquemont (Somme, Roquette group).
Cristal Union's Sainte-Emilie sugar refinery invests in decarbonation - 04/09/2023
  • Investment in a beet pulp drying unit: €25 million
  • Cristal Union Group sales in 2022: 2 billion euros
  • Number of Cristal Union sugar factories in France: 8
Tereos ready to close a third plant in France - 23/06/2023
  • Third Group site affected by a redundancy plan in just a few months.
  • Closure of the potato starch processing plant at Haussimont (Marne) envisaged.
  • Two other closures already announced: Escaudoeuvres sugar plant (Nord) and Morains distillery (Marne).
  • Record operating profit for Tereos in 2021: €664 million.
Cristal Union in top form - 08/06/2023
  • France's second-largest sugar producer: Cristal Union
  • Record results for fiscal 2022-2023
  • 2,000 employees and 9,000 cooperative members
  • 2.3 billion euros in sales last year (up 30%).
Tereos optimistic for the future - 05/06/2023
  • Sales: 6.6 billion euros (+29% year-on-year)
  • Ebitda: 1.1 billion euros (+62%)
  • Increase in European sugar prices: +80% for the year
  • closure of three sites and 150 job cuts in France

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Tereos Groupe
Cristal Union
901 le marché du sucre en France
Saint Louis Sucre (Sudzucker groupe)
Sucden Sucres et Denrées
Béghin Say (Tereos)
Daddy (Cristal Union Groupe)
Giraudon et Fils
La Perruche (Tereos Groupe)

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