'Sugar' refers to sucrose, a carbohydrate found naturally in most fruits and vegetables. Sucrose is the major product of photosynthesis, a natural process that allows plants to turn sunlight into energy. Sucrose is the most abundant sugar found in nature, and occurs in the greatest quantities in sugar cane and sugar beets, which are used to produce sugar for use at home and in food products. Whether produced from cane or beet, the result is the same: pure sugar.
The process of extracting and purifying sugars from sugar cane and sugar beet however allows for the production of a large variety of sugars. Sugars may differ in colour, flavour, sweetness and crystal size. Each of these characteristics allows sugar to perform a variety of functions in food products, in addition to providing a sweet taste.