Refined Sugar vs. Raw Sugar

When it comes to sugar processing, the term “refined” means “to purify” or “make pure”. The sugar refining process separates natural sucrose from its original plant source material without bleaching or chemical manipulation. All sugar is natural or “raw”, no matter what type of sugar it is.

The sugar refining process happens in several stages. All Pure Cane Sugar starts at the same point:

  • The Sugar Cane is crushed between rollers to extract the juice.
  • The extracted juice is filtered and evaporated, then further purified by filtering and boiling to remove molasses and color.
  • The crystals are spun in a centrifuge and evaporated to produce raw sugar.


At this point raw sugar (also referred to as turbinado or unprocessed sugar) is finished production. It is packaged and sent to the store for you to purchase. Granulated white sugar continues to a refinery where it is washed, filtered and any non-sugar ingredients are removed. The refined sugar is then further processed into granulated form, dried and packaged.

Since 1843 we’ve been producing the natural raw and refined sugars you depend on for your baking, your entertaining and for your everyday life. We pledge to maintain the all-natural goodness of each and every product from the fields to your table. Imperial Sugar does not use genetically modified plants in any of our all-natural products - only pure, unmodified sugar cane. So you can continue to put only the freshest, delicious, natural foods on your table – the way it’s been for more than 160 years.

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