Q1: Is sugar good for health?
A: Yes, of course, it is good for health. It has food value and is as good as any other carbohydrate. When consumed, carbohydrate food such as sugar is partially converted into glucose. Glucose is then absorbed into the bloodstream thereby producing energy. It is a myth that sugar intake causes diabetes. Diabetes occurs on account of the inability of the pancreas to manufacture sufficient insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the availability of glucose to the body cells. However diabetes after having surfaced gets aggravated with intake of sugar, for that matter intake of any carbohydrate would worsen diabetes. Normally sugar produces energy in the human body.
Q2: How is sugar graded?
A: Sugar is graded according to its colour and according to the size of its granules. Internationally, ICUMSA is the yardstick with which quality of sugar is judged. Colour of the sugar and the lustre of sugar are the predominant factors in ICUMSA rating. As per Indian standards based on the colour and lustre of sugar the same is assigned numbers viz. 29, 30 and 31. The lower the number inferior or duller the colour of sugar and vice versa. On the basis of granule size sugar is again classified as S, M or L meaning small, medium and large sugar.
Q3: Is brown sugar the dangerous narcotic drug a derivative or spin off regular sugar?
A: There is no relation whatsoever between brown sugar and white sugar. Brown sugar, smack is a dangerous narcotic drug used for intoxication. The drug assumes its name because of its colour, which is dark brown. It tastes bitter and is not sweet. The name brown sugar is a misnomer. There is nothing sugary about brown sugar.
Q4: What is Khandasari sugar?
A: Regular sugar or white crystal sugar is manufactured in sugar mill, where vacuum pans are used for crystallizing and granulating the sugar syrup. The sugar granules though brittle are reasonably hard and cannot be crushed easily. Manufacture of Khandasari sugar is a relatively simple process of manufacture where open pans are used. The Khandasari sugar is hardly brittle and can be easily crushed in to powdery form. The process of removal of impurities in Khandasari sugar is also not perfected.
The white crystal sugar manufactured in sugar mills is therefore far more superior in quality as compared to Khandasari sugar manufactured in Khandasari mills.
Q5: Has the Indian consumerism matured enough to prefer sugar cubes or branded sugar to unpacked sugar?
A: The elite of select metropolitan towns have in fact shown preference to sugar cubes and branded sugar. However they constitute a minuscule percentage of the total population and the sugar thus consumed constitutes a negligible percentage of the sugar consumed in the country. The vagaries of Indian Excise laws and the exorbitant cost of packing the sugar for it being sold as a branded product render the branding of sugar very expensive phenomenon. The price elasticity of demand of sugar continues to be very high in India. Smallest increase in the price of sugar causes widespread clamour. However as in case of salt a day may come when the Indian consumers will also demand sugar by quoting their brand names. Brand loyalty on date is virtually non-existent. Niche market for sugar is yet a far cry and we do not yet have a breed of connoisseurs of sugar. Simplification of excise laws is a first mandatory step in development of branded market for sugar.
Q6: Why does the price of sugar fluctuate so erratically?
A: Sugar is cyclic industry and the production of sugar oscillates widely year after year. The rule of arithmetic progression is followed in case of growth in demand and consumption of sugar which is not so in case of production of sugar. Depending on the production of sugar in the country as also the production of sugar worldwide, there are wide swings in the prices of sugar. The price of sugar is inversely proportional to the production of sugar. In the short run the prices of sugar also vary depending on the release of sugar in to the sugar market. Sale of sugar in India is regulated by the release mechanism directed by the Government. Market sentiments triggered by baseless rumours also have a significant impact on the sugar prices in the short term.
Q7: Is imported sugar less sweeter when compared to domestic sugar?
A: Not really, all though sugar in many other countries is manufactured with sugar beet as the raw material. Sugar cane is the raw material for manufacture of sugar in India. Sucrose content in sugarcane is much higher when compared to the sucrose content in sugar beet. However all sugars conform to internationally accepted quality standards and are no different from one another.