Organic sugar is a raw cane sugar that is either light brown or golden brown in color. The distinctive color comes from trace amounts of molasses found in its medium-sized crystals.
Organic sugar is centrifuged and extracted directly from the first batch of sugar crystallized from cane juice. It is minimally processed but cannot exactly be called unprocessed or unrefined.
To be certified as organic, sugars must be processed, handled and packaged in accordance with the USDA National Organic Program's guidelines. Manufacturers are not allowed to use genetically modified seeds, synthetic pesticides, or fertilizers.
There are currently a great variety of organic sugar brands on the market. Products like turbinado, sucanat, and muscovado, or just simply 'organic sugar' are all touted as healthier sweetening choices than table sugar and its many substitutes.
Sugar can be derived from sugar cane or sugar beets. Since there are only genetically modified sugar beets in the US, there is no USA-made organic sugar from beets.
What's more, most organic sugars you see in stores are imported from Paraguay, Brazil, Malawi, and Mauritius. Florida Crystals Corporation is the only producer of certified organic cane sugar in America.
1) What Is Sugar?
Sugar is 99.99% sucrose, which is a combination of glucose and fructose. Sucrose can be extracted from either sugar cane or sugar beets. The sugars we have reviewed here come exclusively from sugar cane.
2) How is Sugar Made?
Although organic sugar is processed, it is processed differently from conventional sugar. The process is designed to be free of synthetic chemicals or man-made compounds.
The sugar cane is washed, chopped, and crushed before the resulting cane juice is extracted, boiled, and spun to remove most of the molasses. The final step is steam cleaning.
3) Does Organic Sugar Have More Nutritional Value?
There are trace amounts of nutrients left in organic sugar after processing. Those nutrients include iron, calcium, vitamin B1, B2, B6, chromium, magnesium, selenium, and potassium.
So, yes organic sugar does have more nutritional value than white cane sugar, even by a tiny bit.
4) How Is Organic Sugar Different From Conventional Sugar?
Other than micronutrients, one major difference between organic and conventional sugar is that refined white sugar has a glycemic index of about 80, and organic sugar has a glycemic index of just 47.
Also, unlike white, refined sugar, organic sugar is minimallly processed which means that it still contains valuable nutrients like vitamins Iron, Zinc, A, C, B1, and B6. Plus, organic sugar won't deplete your body of critical minerals to your health to be digested.
Very few people know is that white sugar is nutritionally dead so the body is forced to tap its calcium, magnesium, chromium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus reserves to properly digest it.
Many people in the developed world lack these essential nutrients from their bodies. They are the so-called overfed and undernourished, a current paradox of the lives of many adherents of the high-sugar Western Diet.
5) What Is Sucanat Sugar?
Sucanat is an variant of cane sugar. It is made by crushing the cane, extracting and heating the juice, and then drying it with hand paddles.
Nothing is added to the cane juice. It has a higher molasses content and lower calorie count. It is also coarser than most organic sugars., and it retains all its molasses content.
How We Reviewed The Brands We Chose
We tried to find a variety of brands to review. We strive to keep all our reviews completely unbiased, so we have not received product samples or compensation from any brands for our review.
Our choices were reviewed based on their features, pros & cons, price, where to buy (store availability), and warranty/guarantees (if any).
Overall Price Range Of Organic Sugar
Organic sugar has a wide price range. It can be found as inexpensively as three dollars per pound or as pricey as 16 dollars per pound. Since the price of organic sugar is already twice as high as conventional sugar, it pays to get the best quality at the lowest possible cost.
There are not many differences among brands, so a higher price tag may not necessarily get you a higher quality product.
What We Reviewed
Dulcie Organic Unrefined Natural Cane Sugar
Dulcie Organic Unrefined Natural Cane Sugar is sourced from Columbia. It is known by the name panela in South America. It has a rich and grainy consistency, similar to sucanat's.
Dulcie is much more rich in color than other organic sugar choices and has a slight molasses or caramel-like flavor. It can replace white, brown, cane, turbinado, and raw sugars. The sugar also introduces polyphenols and alkaline into the body.
This product can be found in stores and online for around $11.00-17.00 per pound.
Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Fair Trade Sugar
Wholesome Sweeteners Organic is a fair trade sugar. This means the farming co-ops used are paid directly for the sugar cane they produce and mill. The brand is the number one sugar in North America.
It is sourced from South America and is rich in molasses. It is made from freshly squeezed sugar cane and is both kosher and gluten-free.
This product can be found in stores and online for around $2.00-3.00 per pound.
Replace or refund satisfaction guarantee.
Organic Cane Sugar (3 lbs) by Anthony's
Organic Cane Sugar by Anthony's is a product of India that is not available in traditional stores. It is certified organic by the CCOF and certified gluten-free by the CSA and Vegan Verified.
It has a rich, sweet taste and would be ideal for making caramel. The resealable bag is a bonus.
This product can be found in stores and online for around $3.65-4.50 per pound.
Kirkland Signature Organic Sugar
Kirkland Signature Organic Sugar is sourced from Paraguay. It is sustainably harvested and, as with all USGA certified organic products, was grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, antibiotics, and pesticides.
It is both vegan and kosher.
This product can be found in stores and online for around $1.45-1.90 per pound.
None if purchased outside of Costco.
Trader Joe's Organic Sugar Evaporated Cane Juice
Trader Joe's Organic Sugar Evaporated Cane Juice has a rich flavor. It is an unrefined sugar made from the first crystallization of organic cane juice. Its robust flavor makes it perfect for making Kombucha.
This product can be found in stores and online for around $4.00-6.00 per pound.
100 percent Money back guarantee.
365 Everyday Value Organic Cane Sugar
365 Everyday Value Organic Cane Sugar is a Whole Foods sugar brand. It is Non-GMO project verified and sodium free. The sugar has a dark blonde color and warm flavor.
This product can be found in stores and online for around $2.00-$5.00 per pound.
100 percent money back guarantee.
Florida Crystals Sugar Cane Organic
Florida Crystals Sugar Cane Organic is made from 100 percent certified organic sugar cane. It is grown and harvested in the USA. The brand is the pioneer of American grown organic sugar cane and the only North American provider.
This product can be found in stores and online for around $3.40-3.70 per pound.
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Deciding on the best picks for our reviews is always difficult. However, this one has been the hardest of all. The simple fact is it is hard to find anything wrong with organic sugar other than the price.
Also, there are a plethora of ways to process it, so many of the products are near identical in what they offer.
Some of the brands we listed have impressive national and global certifications, which adds a higher level of consumer trust. However, that alone can not push one choice to the top over the others.
That said, the fair trade stamp on Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Sugar made it a tempting pick for the number one spot.
We decided to up the criteria for best organic sugar by disregarding the certifications. After all, technically all the sugars are all pesticide and chemical free. They are all kosher and vegan.
When we considered that, it narrowed the pool of possible choices and we began to lean toward Kirkland Signature Organic Sugar. We loved that it is sustainably farmed, but without a Costco card, you will pay twice the going rate for the brand.
We did not feel the sugar was top tier, especially if you have to pay double or buy a store membership to get it.
The Runner Up
The patriot in us leaned heavily toward Florida Crystals Sugar Cane Organic. Since it is grown, harvested, and produced right here in the good ol' USA, it is reason enough to support the brand. We even suggest you do.
As we mentioned earlier in the article, Florida Crystals Sugar Cane Organic is the only producer of organic sugar in all of North America. It was really hard to pass them over for the top spot.
However, despite the temptation, there is another brand that is far superior to all the other brands on our list. It offers something no other brand does. So despite really…really wanting to choose Florida Crystals Sugar, we passed.
The Undisputed Champion
Dulcie Organic Unrefined Natural Cane Sugar is ultimately our top pick for the best organic sugar. It has a completely unique 'refining' process, if you can even call it that.
Dulcie is also capable of replacing almost every natural sweetener on the market including white, brown, cane, turbinado, and raw sugar with an exact 1:1 ratio. We are actually still trying to wrap our minds around how that is possible.
Dulcie has a unique and distinct taste from any other option on our list. In the words of one user, it is an “Amazing product”; another said the product was “…a great substitute for honey too!”
We were hard pressed to find even one person who did not love it. The only complaints were about price and availability, but that did not stop people from buying it!
Some may argue Dulcie is not exactly a sugar. That may or may not be a valid point. However, if anything is stopping it from gaining the official "sugar" title, it is that such a high concentration of the so-called impurities removed from conventional and organic sugars are still present in Dulcie's cane sugar.
By impurities, we mean much of the vitamins, minerals, molasses, and goodies like polyphenols and alkalines.
We have sung the praises of Dulcie Organic and Unrefined Natural Cane Sugar - and it is well deserved, but the sugar is shockingly expensive. By shockingly, we mean double the price of any other sugar on our list, which would make it quadruple the price of conventional sugar.
However, in the sugar's defense, if you are going to pay twice as much for an organic option, you may as well get more than a few trace nutrients out of it.
Dulcie Organic Unrefined Natural Cane Sugar is the one option that offered a significant flux in nutritional and caloric value. It is light-years closer to the cane than any other choice we could find.
If it is really about your health, and the Earth’s, there is no other choice. That said it is $$$ out of $$$ on our price rating system. But hey, maybe an unexpected side effect of buying it will be that you eat significantly less sugar because you simply can’t afford to indulge.