Tate & Lyle

Tate & Lyle PLC is a British-headquartered, global supplier of food and beverage ingredients to industrial markets. It was originally a sugar refining business, but from the 1970s it began to diversify, eventually divesting its sugar business in 2010. It specialises in turning raw materials such as corn and tapioca into ingredients that add taste, texture, and nutrients to food and beverages.[2] It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

Tate & Lyle PLC
TypePublic limited company
IndustryFood processing
FoundedMerger of Henry Tate & Sons (established 1859) and Abram Lyle & Sons (established 1887) in 1921
HeadquartersLondon, England, UK
Key people
  • Gerry Murphy, Chairman
  • Nick Hampton, CEO
Revenue £1.375 billion (2022)[1]
£67 million (2022)[1]
£236 million (2022)[1]
Number of employees
3,500 (2021)[1]


Sugar refining

Former Tate & Lyle PLC refinery along the Thames in Silvertown, London

The company was formed in 1921 from a merger of two rival sugar refiners: Henry Tate & Sons and Abram Lyle & Sons.[3]

Henry Tate established his business in 1859 in Liverpool, later expanding to Silvertown in East London.[3] He used his industrial fortune to found the Tate Institute in Silvertown in 1887 and the Tate Gallery in Pimlico, Central London in 1897. He endowed the gallery with his own collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings.[4]

Abram Lyle, a cooper and shipowner, acquired an interest in a sugar refinery in 1865 in Greenock and then at Plaistow Wharf, West Silvertown, London.[3] The two companies had large factories nearby each other – Henry Tate in Silvertown and Abram Lyle at Plaistow Wharf – so prompting the merger. Prior to the merger, which occurred after they had died, the two men were bitter business rivals, although they had never met in person.[5] In 1949, the company introduced its "Mr Cube" brand, as part of a marketing campaign to help it fight a proposed nationalisation by the Labour government.[3]


From 1973, British membership of the European Economic Community threatened Tate & Lyle's core business, with quotas imposed from Brussels favouring domestic sugar beet producers over imported cane refiners such as Tate & Lyle.[6] As a result, under the leadership of Saxon Tate (a direct descendant of Henry Tate), the company began to diversify into related fields of commodity trading, transport and engineering, and in 1976, it acquired competing cane sugar refiner Manbré & Garton.[6]

In 1976, the Company acquired a 33% stake (increased to 63% in 1988) in Amylum, a European starch-based manufacturing business.[3] The Liverpool sugar plant closed in 1981 and the Greenock plant closed in 1997.[7] In 1988, Tate & Lyle acquired a 90% stake in A. E. Staley, a US corn processing business. In 1998 it brought Haarmann & Reimer, a citric acid producer. In 2000 it acquired the remaining minorities of Amylum and A. E. Staley.[3]

In 2004, it established a joint venture with DuPont to manufacture a renewable 1,3-Propanediol that can be used to make Sorona (a substitute for nylon). This was its first major foray into bio-materials.[3] In 2005, DuPont Tate & Lyle BioProducts was created as a joint venture between DuPont and Tate & Lyle.[8] In 2006, it acquired Hycail, a small Dutch business, giving the company intellectual property and a pilot plant to manufacture Polylactic acid (PLA), another bio-plastic.[9] In October 2007, five European starch and alcohol plants, previously part of the European starch division known as Amylum group, were sold to Syral, a subsidiary of French sugar company Tereos.[10] Syral closed its Greenwich Peninsula plant in London in September 2009, and it was subsequently demolished.[11]

In 2006, Lyle’s Golden Syrup tin was awarded a Guinness World Record as the world’s oldest branding.[12]

Tate & Lyle head office in Kingsway, London

In February 2008, it was announced that Tate & Lyle granulated white cane sugar would be accredited as a Fairtrade product, with all the company's other retail products to follow in 2009.[13]

In April 2009, the United States International Trade Commission affirmed a ruling that Chinese manufacturers can make copycat versions of its Splenda product.[14]

In 2021, Tate & Lyle ranked fourth in the Modified Starch category of FoodTalks' Global Food Thickener Companies list.[15]

In May 2022, it was announced that Tate & Lyle had acquired Nutriati, an ingredient technology company developing and producing chickpea protein and flour.[16]

Disposal of sugar refining business

In July 2010 the company announced the sale of its sugar refining business, including rights to use the Tate & Lyle brand name and Lyle's Golden Syrup, to American Sugar Refining (owned by sugar barons the Fanjul brothers) for £211 million.[17] The sale included the Plaistow Wharf and Silvertown plants.[17] The new owners pledged that there would be no job losses as a result of the transaction.[18]

Recent history

In 2012, HarperCollins published The Sugar Girls, a work of narrative non-fiction based on the true stories of women who worked at Tate & Lyle's two factories in the East End of London from the 1940s to the 1960s.[19]

Nick Hampton became CEO on 1 April 2018, replacing Javed Ahmed, who stepped down from this role and from the board, and retired from the company.[20]

Tate & Lyle has developed a method to commercially produce the natural sweetener allulose. It emerged in August 2019 that the company was seeking to take advantage of the 2019 permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to not list the product in total sugar or as an added sugar in commercial food ingredients.[21]

In July 2021, Tate & Lyle announced it was spinning off Tate & Lyle Primary Products (formerly, A. E. Staley) into a new company to be known as Primary Products Ingredients Americas LLC (Primient). Tate & Lyle will maintain 50% ownership of Primient and the remaining 50% will be owned by KPS Capital Partners (including board and management control). The transaction was completed in April 2022.[22]

In June 2022, it was announced that Tate & Lyle had completed the acquisition of Quantum Hi-Tech (Guangdong) Biological Co., Ltd (Quantum), a prebiotic dietary fibre business located in China.[23]


A Tate & Lyle tank car carrying corn syrup

The company is organised as follows:[24]


In September 2022 starch supplied by Tate & Lyle PLC was identified as the possible source of the contaminant that led to the death of Celia Marsh in Bath in 2017, shortly after eating supposedly dairy-free yoghurt used in a Pret a Manger wrap.[25] The yoghurt contained a stabiliser called HG1 designed by Australian company CoYo founder Henry Gosling with Tate & Lyle’s Australian subsidiary. From 2012, yoghurt using HG1 manufactured by Tate & Lyle’s plant in north Wales was supplied as "dairy-free" to Pret a Manger despite the HG1 bags from Tate & Lyle stating: “Manufactured in a factory that handles milk, eggs, cereals.”[26]

See also

  • Primient, American subsidiary
  • Splenda, sugar substitute
  • Redpath Sugar, former subsidiary


  1. "Annual Results 2022" (PDF). Tate & Lyle. Retrieved 16 November 2022.
  2. "About us". Tate & Lyle. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  3. "Tate & Lyle Home".
  4. The River Thames from Hampton Court to the Millennium Dome (1999) ISBN 1-86011-701-5
  5. Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi (2012). The Sugar Girls. Collins. ISBN 978-0-00-744847-0.
  6. "Sir Saxon Tate, Bt". The Daily Telegraph. 5 September 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  7. "Tate & Lyle plans end of 250-year Scots link with switch to London plant. Bitter blow from sugar firm". The Herald. Glasgow. 21 July 1995. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  8. "DuPont and Tate & Lyle to Open $100 Million Bioproducts Plant". GreenBiz. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  9. Sin, Lee Tin; Rahmat, Abdul Razak; Rahman, W. A. W. A. (2012). Polylactic Acid: PLA Biopolymer Technology and Applications. William Andrew. ISBN 978-1437744590.
  10. "Tereos starch subsidiary Syral finalises the acquisition of 5 Tate & Lyle Plants" (PDF). Syral. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 November 2008. Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  11. "Farewell, Tunnel Refineries". 853: News, views and issues around Greenwich, Charlton, Blackheath and Woolwich, south-east London. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  12. "A history of Tate & Lyle told in cake". The Royal Docks. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  13. "Tate & Lyle sugar to be Fairtrade". BBC News. 23 February 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2008.
  14. Alison Frankel. "Sweet Surrender: Bingham Wins ITC Sugar Substitute Case". Litigation Daily. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  15. Fu, Rice; Zhao, Viola (10 September 2021). "2021年全球食用增稠剂企业榜" [Global Food Thickener Companies List] (in Chinese). Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  16. "Tate & Lyle acquires developer and producer of plant-based protein". Food and Drink Technology. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
  17. Tate & Lyle sells sugar arm to American Sugar Refining BBC News, 1 July 2010
  18. Finch, Julia; Wray, Richard (1 July 2010). "Tate & Lyle agrees sale of historic sugar business for £211m". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  19. Matt Nicholls (23 February 2011). "Sweet! Tate & Lyle lives celebrated". Newham Recorder.
  20. "Nick Hampton Appointed CEO". Tate & Lyle Press Release. 16 January 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  21. Elejalde-Ruiz, Alexia (22 August 2019). "A natural sweetener with a tenth of sugar's calories. Allulose, developed in Hoffman Estates, could be 'breakthrough ingredient.'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  22. "KPS Capital Partners To Acquire Controlling Stake In Tate & Lyle's Primary Products Business In North America And Latin America". Tate & Lyle PLC. 1 April 2022. Retrieved 1 April 2022.
  23. "Tate & Lyle acquires Quantum Hi-Tech Biological for $237m". UK Investor Magazine. 31 March 2022. Retrieved 16 November 2022.
  24. "Our structure". Tate & Lyle. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  25. "Pret A Manger: Yoghurt producer weeps at Celia Marsh inquest". BBC News. 15 September 2022. Retrieved 18 September 2022.
  26. "Inquest hears supplier unaware Pret 'vegan' wrap contained milk". the Guardian. 15 September 2022. Retrieved 18 September 2022.

Further reading

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