In its simplest form, liquid sugar is just a one-to-one ratio of refined white sugar dissolved in water. Color can range from clear to amber; darker syrups may be used in products where a brown color is desirable. Liquid sugars are preferred by the beverage industry, with demand especially strong from the energy drink sector.

Liquid invert sugar is another sugar-water syrup, but it is produced by breaking sucrose, via heat and acidic/enzymatic action, into its component glucose and fructose (a process termed inversion), which remain separate and in equal concentration in the syrup. Invert sugar tastes sweeter than sucrose because fructose is sweeter than glucose; since the fructose is freed from its parent sucrose molecule, its taste onset is immediate rather than slightly delayed.

Since 2016, reporters (sugar beet processors, sugarcane processors, and cane sugar refiners) to USDA have delivered annually around 3.0 billion pounds, raw value, of noncrystalline sugar (which includes sugar syrups, cane juice, and liquid, edible molasses). (Some liquid sugar production is not included in this category.) For this fiscal year (October 2018 through September 2019), cumulative deliveries through July totaled 3.12 billion pounds, up 3 percent from last season to date thanks to a 9 percent increase in cane-derived liquid sugar deliveries.

Annual deliveries of noncrystalline sugar

Source: USDA
* McKeany-Flavell estimate
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