Sugar beats down the food miles

BEET farmers across Suffolk are doing their bit to halt climate change and promote the region by growing sugar sold only in East Anglia.The special packs of sugar each carry “produced in East Anglia” badges and are made from the beet produced by the region's farmers, most of whom live within just 30 miles of Silver Spoon's Bury St Edmunds factory.

Laurence Cawley

BEET farmers across Suffolk are doing their bit to halt climate change and promote the region by growing sugar sold only in East Anglia.

The special packs of sugar each carry “produced in East Anglia” badges and are made from the beet produced by the region's farmers, most of whom live within just 30 miles of Silver Spoon's Bury St Edmunds factory.

As well as being made using regional suppliers, the produce will only be sold in the East Anglian region, under a deal struck between Silver Spoon and Tesco.

One of the farmers involved in the scheme, Richard Duchesne, of Stanningfield Hall, near Bury St Edmunds, said: “It is all part of this big move to remind people that what they see in the fields around them is their food being produced.

“The vast majority of people go to a supermarket and have little idea where their food actually comes from. In East Anglia I think it is different, most East Anglian people realise their food is being grown around them. We've got some of the best yields in the country in East Anglia and I get quite involved with schools and other organisations to try and educate people about where their food comes from.”

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He added he hoped in the long run, the new scheme would mean better prices for the local beet producers because the sugar was travelling less from source to till.

Shoppers at the Tesco store in Bury, which sits close to the towers of the Silver Spoon factory, were yesterday greeted by fellow farmer Paul Cornwell, who brought along his six-row beet harvester to show the public how the crop is grown and collected.

The Silver Spoon factory in Bury was built in 1925 and more than 300,000 tonnes of sugar is produced there each year from farms in Suffolk , Norfolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire.

Louise Vickers, Silver Spoon's senior brand manager, said: “We have a long history of association with this region and have worked closely with the local beet farmers for many years to ensure the highest quality sugar is produced.

“We're proud of the fact that from field to spoon our sugar travels fewer miles than any other to reach the customer.”

Sam Nundy, senior buying manager of Tesco, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to work with the region's growers and really show our support of East Anglian farming.”

The East Anglian range of sugar, which also sports the red tractor logo, will be available at Tesco stores across the eastern region from Lincolnshire to Essex.

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