How sugar is used

There’s more to sugar than meets the eye

A range of different characteristics make sugar ideal for all kinds of food preparation. From improving the taste of food, sugar is also used to provide structure, texture, and also acts as a natural preservative.

In cooking, sugar has a number of important functions and uses. A few everyday uses include:

  1. It acts as a structural agent for products like meringues
  2. Is a fermentation agent – producing ethanol, carbon dioxide and water. In baking and brewing, fermentation is a critical process
  3. Preservation – sugar binds water molecules making them unavailable for microorganisms. This helps prevent the growth of moulds (bacteria)
  4. It decreases the freezing point of frozen products like ice creams, sorbets and frozen baked products
  5. Adds colour and flavour (browning) upon cooking


  • A spoonful of sugar in your vase can help flowers live longer.
  • Our ancestors used to starch their petticoats with sugar.
  • Sugar has been used to preserve ancient timbers.