UK sugar processor British Sugar today (Wednesday) claimed its Wissington plant was the largest and most efficient sugar factory in the world.

The plant, in Norfolk in eastern England, processed a record 18,503 tonnes of beet during a single 24 hour period. It processes around 2.4 million tonnes of UK grown sugar beet every year.

A few beet sugar factories in Europe produce more crystal sugar on a daily basis but none, said British Sugar, process so much sugar beet in a season, or produce so much sugar each year. 

As a result, they cannot match the efficiency of its UK operation.  Some beet sugar factories in Minnesota, USA come close but even with their extended processing season, they do not beat Wissington, it said.

 "It is the scale of this and our other factories, coupled with the innovative way we operate them, which makes us the most efficient sugar producer in Europe," said chief executive Mark Carr. "We have continually invested in this industry over many years which has allowed us to rationalise our business and drive efficiencies."

"The current review of the (European Union) sugar regime will undoubtedly mean further challenges but, in line with the (European) Commission's own objectives, we believe that any reductions in European production should be made by encouraging high cost industries to rationalise, rather than by forcing cuts on efficient industries like ours," he said. "This makes economic sense, and also increases competition amongst the remaining, efficient producers, to the ultimate benefit of the consumer."