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VHP Sugar - Its History & Applications


VHP, or Very High Polarity sugar, is a type of raw sugar with a high sucrose content, often exceeding 99.4%. Originating in the sugar cane fields and mills, this raw sugar is a crucial intermediary in the sugar market, bridging the gap between raw cane sugar production and refined sugar manufacturing. VHP sugar’s development was driven by the need for a more efficient, cost-effective, and quality-consistent raw material for refineries.

In assessing the quality of VHP sugar, the International Commission for Uniform Methods of Sugar Analysis (ICUMSA) rating is used. VHP sugar typically exhibits an ICUMSA rating between 600 and 1200. This rating positions VHP sugar as a preferred choice for further refining, due to its relatively high purity compared to standard raw sugars.

VHP Sugars History

The inception of VHP sugar can be traced back to efforts aimed at enhancing the efficiency of sugar cane processing. Unlike traditional raw sugars, which could vary greatly in quality and purity, VHP sugar was designed to provide a consistently high-quality product that could be more easily and efficiently refined into white sugar.

This innovation in sugar processing significantly impacted global sugar trading and refining. By producing a raw sugar with higher purity, sugar mills could reduce shipping costs and wastage, while refineries could increase their output of refined sugar without the need for extensive purification processes.

Key Points

  • Innovation in Brazil: The concept of VHP sugar emerged prominently in Brazil, a leading sugar producer, during the late 20th century. Brazilian sugar mills pioneered the production of higher-purity sugar as a means to maximize the value of their exports and improve the efficiency of the global sugar refining process.
  • Global Adoption: The success of VHP sugar in Brazil led to its adoption by other major sugar-producing countries, including India and Thailand. Its introduction marked a significant shift in how sugar was traded internationally, with VHP sugar becoming a commodity in its own right.
  • Standardization: The international sugar market soon recognized the need for standardizing VHP sugar to ensure consistency and reliability. This led to the establishment of specific criteria for what constitutes VHP sugar, typically requiring a sucrose content of 99.4% or higher and minimal non-sugar content.

Applications for VHP Sugar

Food & Beverage Industry

  • Refinement Process: VHP sugar serves as a premium input for the refinement process, producing white sugar that is widely used in the food and beverage industry. The high purity of VHP sugar makes it more cost-effective and efficient to process, reducing the energy and additional steps needed to achieve the final refined product suitable for consumption.
  • Confectionery and Baking: Once refined, the sugar derived from VHP is ideal for confectionery, baking, and other culinary uses, where its consistency and purity contribute to the quality and taste of the final products.
  • Beverages: Refined sugar from VHP is also used in beverages, providing a clean, sweet taste without any residual flavors that might affect the product’s intended taste profile.

Other Industries

  • Ethanol and Biofuels: Unlike its applications in food and beverages, VHP sugar can be used directly as a feedstock for ethanol production without the need for refinement. Its high sucrose content makes it an efficient and cost-effective option for biofuel production.

While the primary route for VHP sugar in food and beverage applications involves refinement to produce consumable white sugar, its use in ethanol and biofuels, as well as potential applications in bioplastics and industrial fermentation, highlights its versatility and importance as a raw material.

Moving Towards Sustainability

The sugar industry, including VHP sugar production, is increasingly focused on sustainable practices. From water conservation and biodiversity protection in sugar cane cultivation to energy-efficient processing techniques, the sector is embracing innovations that reduce environmental impact and enhance social responsibility.

  • Ethical Sourcing: Ensuring that sugar cane is sourced from farms that adhere to ethical labour practices is a growing focus, with certifications like Fair Trade playing a pivotal role.
  • Technological Advances: Innovations in sugar cane cultivation and processing aim to reduce water usage, increase yield per hectare, and minimize the carbon footprint of VHP sugar production.

Key Factors of VHP Sugar

The widespread adoption and importance of VHP sugar in the global sugar market can be attributed to several key factors:

  • High Sucrose Content: VHP sugar contains a minimum of 99.4% sucrose, making it nearly pure. This high level of purity means it requires less processing by refineries to produce white sugar, leading to significant energy and cost savings.
  • Efficiency in Transport and Storage: Its lower moisture content and higher purity level make VHP sugar more resistant to spoilage and easier to store and transport over long distances. This efficiency reduces logistical costs and losses during transportation.
  • Environmental Considerations: The production of VHP sugar reflects efforts within the industry to reduce the environmental impact of sugar production. By increasing the efficiency of sugar processing, producers can minimize waste and energy use.
  • Market Flexibility: VHP sugar serves as a versatile raw material that can be easily converted into various forms of sugar, including white and specialized sugars, catering to diverse market demands.
  • Technological Advances: Innovations in sugar cane cultivation and processing aim to reduce water usage, increase yield per hectare, and minimize the carbon footprint of VHP sugar production.

Sugar at TP-Exports

At TP-Exports, we supply sugar for consumer and industrial demand globally. 

With a developed Agri division built on sustainability and transparency, our industry-focused approach ensures every kilogram we deliver carriers the assurance of traceability and risk mitigation. With origin tracking and per batch testing, we bring resilience to your supply chain and deliver better raw material solutions.

Explore our capacity-specific information to understand further our sugar capabilities and what we can deliver for your production requirements. For a quotation or to speak with someone, please refer to our contact us page.