The majority of the 100,000 tonnes of raw sugar, which will be processed in the firm’s Thames refinery in the UK, will be used to supply industrial customers, while a proportion of it will find its way to the retail channel.
The supply deal with Jamaica, negotiated over the past few months, is a continuation of Tate & Lyle’s long-standing relationship with the nation. According to director of investor and media relations Chris McLeish, it forms an important part of the UK firm’s longer-term strategic supply initiative.
“There are clearly sustainable elements to this relationship. Part of the transaction involves pre-financing certain stages of the sugar production process in Jamaica so we can help them deliver efficient and productive yields from their sugar harvest,” he told FoodNavigator.com this morning.
Jamaica is one of the top six suppliers to Tate & Lyle’s European Sugars business, with other major suppliers including Fiji and Belize, as well as some areas of south-east Asia, such as Laos and Cambodia.
According to McLeish, the recently negotiated supply levels from Jamaica form around 8 per cent of Tate & Lyle’s total annual European sugar refining capacity.
The firm operates two sugar refineries in Europe, one is Lisbon, Portugal, and the second – and larger one – in East London. Annual capacity at both plants is around 1.3m tonnes. Although the firm would not reveal exact figures, McLeish said that “significantly more than 50 per cent” of Tate & Lyle’s sugar goes into the industrial channel, while a “relatively small percentage” goes to retail.
“This split is not uncommon, purely because of the volume of sugar used in other products,” he said.
Tate & Lyle supplies food and beverage manufacturers with sugar in a number of different forms, including white granular and liquid sugars as well as specialty sugar such as forms with higher syrup content or forms suited for particular applications.