After extraordinarily dry and hot summer weather, a subsequent period with high rainfall has enhanced beet growth.
This year's first field samples of beets were made on 14 August 2006 in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Finland and Lithuania. The second field samples of beets were made on Monday this week.
"The beets are developing satisfactorily in all our production countries," said Thomas B. Olsen, executive vice president of agriculture at Danisco.
"The rainfall in recent weeks has favoured good beet growth, but the sugar content is relatively low. On this basis, we can confirm our expectations of a total sugar output in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany and Lithuania in line with our EU quotas for 2006/07 of 988,000 tonnes of sugar."
Reform of the EU sugar regime has been a long time coming. There has been intense pressure for years on the EU, the world's third-largest sugar producer, to change its heavily criticised regime that artificially which supported internal prices at three times the world level.
The reforms, which came into effect on 1 July 2006, nonetheless feature a number of concessions designed to give European sugar producers a viable future. First there was the climb-down from the original proposed 39 per cent price cut to a figure of 36 per cent, and most significantly for sugar producers, there was agreement the sector would be compensated for, on average, 64.2 per cent of this price cut.
But Danisco executive vice president Mogens Granborg, while remaining positive that the European sugar industry retains a viable future, acknowledged that the reforms have led to difficulties and job losses.
"Its always exciting to launch a new campaign, but this year will be very special, indeed," he said.
"Its the last campaign at our factories in Assens, Denmark, and Salo, Finland, and the first one without our factory in Kopingebro, which is currently being phased out.
"The impending factory closures, which are the result of the new terms under the EU's sugar reform, affect us all. The factories have 100 years of history behind them and a traditionally very committed staff."
Danisco was also recognised for its sustainable performance this week in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, which track the performance of leading companies in the sustainability field and assess their financial, social and environmental policies.
The indexes are designed to provide asset managers with reliable and objective benchmarks to manage sustainability portfolios.
"This is the fifth consecutive year that we are included on the indexes," said Soren Hjuler Vogelsang, vice president of corporate sustainable development at Danisco. "This award for our performance shows that we effectively manage the issues that affect our bottom line."