Farm to Table

Farm to table

A sweet journey: sugar from farm to table

Sugar can be an enjoyable part of a balanced and healthy diet, adding flavour and functional properties to a wide range of food and drinks. 

Sucrose, or table sugar, is made by plants, through a process called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis the process of converting light energy from the sun into chemical energy which is stored as simple sugars, such as sucrose (1). The main crops grown for sugar production, due to their high percentage of sucrose, are sugar cane and sugar beet (2;3). Sugar cane is a tropical grass crop that can grow up to 5 meters tall. Sugar beet is a root crop with bright green foliage. 

Young beet plants


  1. BBC Bitesize (N.D). What is photosynthesis? Respiration and gas exchange. 2023.  
  2. Dinesh Babu, K. S., Janakiraman, V., Palaniswamy, H., Kasirajan, L., Gomathi, R., & Ramkumar, T. R. 2022. A short review on sugarcane: its domestication, molecular manipulations and future perspectives. Genetic resources and crop evolution, 69(8), 2623–2643. 
  3. Draycott AP. Sugar beet. 2006. Blackwell, Oxford, pp. xxi+474.