Sugar Processing

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Sugarcane is processed into raw sugar at our Pu‘unene Mill. Built in 1901, its decades-old façade hides state-of-the art technology that helps the company enhance production and control costs. In fact, in 1990 it became one of the first such facilities in the industry to completely computerize its factory operations. It has the capacity to process up to 7,500 tons of cane each day during our 9-month harvesting season.

At the mill, cane stalks are first washed to remove rocks and dirt. They are then chopped, shredded and run through a series of high-pressure rollers that extract about 95% of the juice. The juice is sent to the boiling house for processing into sugar; the leftover fiber, a renewable energy source called bagasse, is sent to the mill’s power plant to be used as fuel.

The cane juice moves through a series of processing steps that weigh and heat the juice, clarify and filter the juice to separate out impurities, evaporate the clarified juice to create concentrated syrup, crystallize the sucrose in the syrup by heating under vacuum then using centrifugal force to separate the raw sugar crystals (also producing molasses in the process).

The majority of our raw sugar is shipped to Crocket, California, for final refining. It is sold under the familiar C&H Sugar label. Our molasses is sold to the Hawai‘i livestock industry for feed, with the excess shipped to mainland U.S. customers.

The remainder of the raw sugar travels by conveyor to our adjacent Maui Brand® facilities, dedicated to the production and packaging of HC&S’ specialty sugar products.