Imperial Sugar Company: A Comprehensive Overview of Its History and Impact

Sugar Industry 5 min read

Imperial Sugar Company, established in 1843, is a major U.S. sugar producer and marketer with its headquarters in Sugar Land, Texas. The company has undergone multiple ownership changes throughout its history, with the current name being established in 1907. Imperial Sugar operates sugar refinery facilities in California, Georgia, and Louisiana, catering to a wide range of customers across various markets.

In March 2021, Louis Dreyfus Company announced its agreement to sell Imperial Sugar to U.S. Sugar, a privately held agri-business based in Clewiston, Florida. Imperial Sugar's products are 100% pure cane sugar and non-GMO, ensuring consistent quality and taste. The company's products can be found at retailers throughout Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, as well as commissaries and Costco stores across the U.S.

Key Takeaways

  • Imperial Sugar has a long history dating back to 1843 and operates refineries in multiple states
  • The company was acquired by U.S. Sugar in 2021, continuing its legacy of cane sugar production
  • Imperial Sugar products are non-GMO, catering to a wide variety of markets and customers
Imperial Sugar Company

History of Imperial Sugar Company

Founding and Early Years

The Imperial Sugar Company was founded in 1843 by the Williams brothers: Samuel, Nathaniel, and Matthew on the grounds of the 4,428-acre Oakland Plantation in what is now Sugar Land, Texas. The company initially operated as a commercial raw sugar mill, focusing on processing sugarcane and distributing high-quality sugar products.

Expansion and Acquisitions

Over the years, Imperial Sugar expanded its operations and acquired several companies. In 1905, I.H. Kempner and a partner purchased the Sugar Land Plantation and mill, operating the business as Sugarland Industries. During this period, Kempner oversaw the construction of the first Holly Sugar factory in Holly, Colorado. In 1988, Imperial Sugar Company acquired Holly Sugar Corporation and formed Imperial Holly.

Operating primarily in the states of Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Florida, the company expanded its portfolio by acquiring additional subsidiaries, which contributed to Imperial Sugar's growth.

Recent Developments

In recent years, Imperial Sugar has been an iconic brand within the American sugar industry. The company has maintained its core focus on producing and distributing quality sugar products and ingredients. As a result, the Imperial Sugar brand has remained a household name, maintaining its strong presence in the industry by retaining American family ownership.

Operations and Facilities

Sugar Refineries

Imperial Sugar Company operates a major sugar refinery in Port Wentworth, Georgia. The Savannah refinery sources raw cane sugar primarily from Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. In addition to the Savannah refinery, the company had sugar refinery operations in California and Louisiana.

Milling and Production Plants

The company owns and operates a sugar transfer and liquification facility in Ludlow, Kentucky. This facility plays an essential role in the company's milling and production operations, supporting the overall production process and maintaining the high-quality standards Imperial Sugar is known for.

Distribution and Logistics

Imperial Sugar has expanded its distribution and production facilities from coast to coast. This large-scale distribution network allows the company to efficiently supply high-quality products to its diverse range of clients. These clients include food manufacturers, retail grocers, and food service distributors. No conclusion or statement filtering

Products and Markets

Product Portfolio

Imperial Sugar Company is a major U.S. sugar producer and marketer, producing only the finest quality sugar and specialty sweeteners. Their product portfolio includes:

  • Redi-Measure Steviacane Granulated Sugar
  • Extra Fine Granulated Pure Cane Sugar (available in bags, pouches, and shakers)
  • Pure Cane Sugar Cubes
  • Light Brown Sugar (available in 1 lb. boxes and poly bags)

Industrial and Foodservice Markets

Imperial Sugar has a strong presence in the industrial and foodservice markets, supplying high-quality products to food manufacturers, retail grocers, and food service distributors. As a subsidiary of Louis Dreyfus Company, Imperial Sugar is committed to sucrose-based research and new product development, catering to the evolving needs of the sugar industry.

Consumer Retail Products

In addition to their industrial and foodservice offerings, Imperial Sugar provides consumer retail products under their own brand name. These products can be found at numerous retailers across the United States. Additionally, Imperial Sugar engages with their community through various channels, offering email newsletters, coupons, and a plethora of recipes to give consumers inspiration for cooking and baking with their products.

Agriculture and Raw Materials

Sugarcane and Sugar Beet Farming

Imperial Sugar Company, a major U.S. sugar producer, sources much of its raw material from sugarcane and sugar beet farming. Sugarcane is typically grown in warmer climates, whereas sugar beet farming thrives in cooler regions. Both crops are essential to the production of refined sugar.

For sugarcane farming, plantations are commonly found in Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. These plantations provide Imperial Sugar with the necessary raw sugar for refining in their facilities. Sugar beet farming, on the other hand, is more common in the northern United States and Europe, serving as an alternative source of raw sugar for the company.

Corn and Citrus Farming

Apart from sugarcane and sugar beet farming, Imperial Sugar's partner companies, including U.S. Sugar Corp., are also involved in corn and citrus farming.

Corn farming is an integral part of agriculture for many reasons. Corn is a versatile crop that is used for human consumption, animal feed, and industrial applications. U.S. Sugar Corp. takes part in corn farming in locations like Clewiston, Florida, contributing to the overall agricultural landscape of the country.

The involvement in citrus farming ensures a diverse portfolio for their partners. Citrus includes fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, and lemons, which are essential for various food and beverage industries. Similar to corn farming, U.S. Sugar Corp.'s citrus operations are largely based in Florida.

Farmers and agricultural communities are at the heart of these raw material production processes. Their dedication and expertise allow companies like Imperial Sugar to continue supplying refined sugar and other products to consumers and industries alike. Through continued collaboration and investment, these agricultural practices contribute greatly to the success of Imperial Sugar Company and its associated businesses.

If you would like to partner with Gilbert International, please feel free to request a quote!

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the history of Imperial Sugar?

Imperial Sugar began its journey in 1843 in Sugar Land, Texas. The company has grown significantly since then and is now one of the largest sugar companies in the United States. They produce a diverse range of sugar products, including granulated, brown, powdered, and organic sugar.

What products does Imperial Sugar make?

Imperial Sugar produces a wide variety of products, including granulated sugar, powdered sugar, brown sugar, and organic sugar. They also produce specialty and baking products, such as cake mixes, frosting, and other baking ingredients, all of which cater to the needs of consumers, foodservice, and industrial clients.