One reason for the surge in beet sugar is that the refining process, once a lengthy and costly, is now streamlined and cheaper. Sugar beets are grown in 11 states and the US ranks only behind France and Germany as the largest sugar beet producer in the world, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
What does this mean for you? Although bakers will notice a slight difference when cooking with beet sugar versus cane sugar, nutritionally and chemically speaking, the two are identical. More importantly, beet sugar is nothing new.
Sugar beets have showed up on news headlines as of late due to the use of genetically engineered crops. In 2009, a federal judge reversed a ruling that approved planting genetically engineered sugar beets. The court felt that there wasn't enough testing of the effects of the engineered beets on other sugar beets and related crops. However, earlier this year, when environmental groups called for already planted genetically engineered sugar beets to be destroyed, another federal judge ruled that the economic impact would be too great if the sugar beets were not harvested.
Have you noticed beet sugar highlighted lately?