Sugar in Brazil, everything you need to know

It is believed that Pedro Capico brought the first sugar cane plants to Brazil, although the exact date is uncertain. The earliest evidence of the presence of sugar cane in the land is given by the records of the Lisbon Custom House, which show the collection of duties on sugar coming from Brazil in 1526

The Portuguese Martim Afonso de Souza built the first Brazilian sugar mill on the coast of São Paulo.

Sugar production in Brazil began in 1533 with the construction of the first sugar mill in the coastal town of São Vicente, in what is now the state of São Paulo. At first, this factory was called “Engenho do Senhor Govemador,”

After the mid-seventeenth century, the Dutch, the British, and the French colonies in the West Indies squeezed Brazilian sugar out of its traditional markets by virtue of their greater proximity to Europe, the dominance of marketing channels, and greater availability of capital. However, it would be erroneous to think that after 1650 Brazil’s sugar enterprise collapsed For 150 years until 18OO, the European sugar markets continued to expand vigorously, asserting the increasing production of sugar from the West Indies. During the same period, exports of sugar from Brazil tended to a stagnant position, fluctuating “between 20,000 and 35,000 metric tons per year.

Even though the volume of sugar exports from Brazil declined between 1650 and 1800, on no occasion during this period it lost its position as the most important item in Brazil’s export list.

The first quarter of the nineteenth century marks the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in Europe and North America, This movement left Brazil untouched, and its sugar industry remained in the conditions it had. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that the first steam engine arrived in Brazil in 1815, being among the earliest to work in a sugar mill. The machinery was built by Boulton and Watt (who also sent one to Rio de Janeiro in 1818) and was installed in the estate of “Mata-Paciencia” owned by Donna Marianna, eldest daughter of the Baron of Campos.

In 1875, the government arranged a scheme for the concession of loans to be used in the construction of modem central factories As a result, “by 1877 the “Cen­tral Quissama” was inaugurated in the state of Rio de Janeiro. In 1878 the “Baroellos Central” was started, quickly followed “by the “Central Nossa Senhora das Dores,” and the “Central Cupim” in 1882, all in the state of Rio de Janeiro.

The inauguration of these central factories mark the beginning of the technological transformation of the Brazilian sugar industry, Production then moved to the northeast of the country, making the region the richest in Brazil. After almost 500 years, the territory of São Paulo has a cultivated area of 5.6 million hectares, which has produced 442.3 million tons of sugarcane, according to data from the IBGE 2016 Urban Agricultural Research.

The world is sweeter thanks to Brazil, One of the leaders in the production and export of sugar. Part of the history of Brazilian development is directly linked to the production of Sugar.

In 2021, Brazil accounted for 36.7% of the global supply, Twice as much as the second largest exporter, which accounted for 15.2% of the supply.

In 2021, Brazil exported $10B in Raw Sugar, making it the 1st largest exporter of Raw Sugar in the world. In the same year, Raw Sugar was the 4th most exported product in Brazil. The main destination of Raw Sugar exports from Brazil is China ($1.42B), Algeria ($776M), Nigeria ($598M), Bangladesh ($575M), and Saudi Arabia ($442M). -(ABPA)

The fastest-growing export markets for Raw in Brazil between 2020 and 2021 were Iran ($208M), Nigeria ($160M), and Canada ($154M).

The Brazil cane sugar market is projected to register a CAGR of 5.1% over the next five years.

Brazil Cane Sugar Industry Segmentation

Sugar derived from sugar cane is known as cane sugar. Cane sugar comes in many forms, including raw, refined, and unrefined. It can be filtered through charcoal to obtain pure white color.

The Brazil cane sugar market is segmented, based on form, into crystallized sugar and liquid sugar. Based on application, the market is segmented into food and beverage, pharmaceutical, industrial, and other applications.

By Type

Crystallized Sugar

Liquid Sugar

By Application

Food and Beverage



Other Applications

Brazilian Sugar Types / Specifications

Sugar VHP (Very High Polarization) is raw sugar and this can be changed in other types of sugars.

Because it has a low humidity of 0.10%, ideal for export.
Granulometry: Slim
Color: Light yellow

Sugar VVHP

Sugar VHP (Very High Polarization) is raw sugar and this can be changed in other types of sugars.

Because it has a low humidity of 0.10%, ideal for export.
Granulometry: Slim
Color: Light yellow

Refined Sugar Icumsa 45

Refined sugar – Icumsa 45 white sugar, dissolves easily, to stay white and refined is added chemical additives such as sulfur that leave it white and flavorful. This eliminates vitamins and minerals thus removing nutrients.

Granulometry: very fine
Color White

Organic Sugar

Organic Sugar Clear sugar without chemical additives since production in sugar cane, washed with water, and centrifuged so that the granulation remains thick and uniform.

Granulometry: fine
color: light brown

Sugar Demerara

Demerara sugar that does not receive any chemical additives and passes through a slight refinement, predominating the high nutritional value.

Granulometry: fine
color: light brown

Sugar Brown

Sugar extracted from the sugarcane juice; is a raw, dark, and moist sugar, thus conserving its nutrients of calcium, iron and mineral salts. The brown sugar does not go through the refinement phase.

Granulometry: very fine
color: brown / caramel

Melado or Molasses Sugar

Melado or Molasses is the syrupy liquid obtained by the evaporation of sugarcane juice by suitable technological processes. Molasses is the liquid obtained as the manufacturing residue of crystallized sugar, molasses, or the refining of raw sugar.

Creamy: thick liquid
color: brown / caramel

Sugar Isomalt

Sugar isomalt is produced by beet and not by sugar cane, natural flavor, and color are similar to sugar cane and used in the production of candy.

Granulometry: fine
color white

Crystal Sugar – IC 150

Crystal Sugar – IC 150 Sugar is difficult to dissolve in water with large transparent crystals, and undergoes refinement slightly after cooking, removing 90% of the mineral salts. At high temperatures the color changes and is separated by types 1,2,3.

Granulometry: fine
Color: clear

Sugar Confectioner

Sugar with fine crystals and white, careful refinement to obtain mini crystals, and the addition of rice starch, corn, or calcium phosphate with this process the mini crystals do not come back to join.

Granulometry: extra fine
Color white

Sugar Light

Composition of refined sugar added to artificial sweeteners; aspartame, cyclamate, saccharin and is very sweet.

Granulometry: very fine
Color white

Brazil Cane Sugar Market News

  • September 2022: Tereos invested heavily in automation and digitization of operations to handle the different processes, improve agricultural monitoring, reduce costs, and enhance the procurement chain and relationship with suppliers. Major projects are in Brazil, and a key focus is laid on supply chain and procurement.
  • February 2022: Brazil developed the first sugarcane that is CRISPR modified. The two sugarcane types, Flex I and Flex II, offer different levels of cell wall digestibility and sucrose content in plant tissues. They address one of the industry’s most pressing problems: improving enzyme accessibility to the sugars locked up in cells, which makes it easier to produce ethanol (first and second generation) and extract other bioproducts.
  • February 2021: Brazil’s Raizen, the joint venture between Cosan SA and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, agreed to buy the sugar and ethanol unit controlled by Louis Dreyfus i.e. Biosev SA. The acquisition lays down the strategy to expand ethanol production.

To stay informed and inspired by developments in global trade, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter ( X ), Linkedin, and Facebook. Be at the forefront of international trade and seize new opportunities in this ever-changing landscape. Visit and join our community of professionals as we navigate the challenges and unlock the potential of global trade together.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
A WordPress Commenter
A WordPress Commenter
5 years ago

Hi, this is a comment.
To get started with moderating, editing, and deleting comments, please visit the Comments screen in the dashboard.
Commenter avatars come from Gravatar.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x