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Sugar rationing ends 80 years ago today

If you were a child on 25th September 1953 a whole new world emerged that day. Sweets and chocolate became more readily available because eight years after the end of the Second World War sugar rationing came to an end.

During the war sugar was one of dozens of what today we would consider to be everyday food items that was rationed to ensure that everyone got a fair share of a scarce resource. Sugar in 1940s Britain mostly came from abroad and had to be shipped into the country. These ships were a prime target for German’s U-boat wolf packs and many millions of tons of ships and the men who crewed them went to the bottom of the ocean.

But it wasn’t the first time that Briton’s had been denied the sweet taste of sugar because during the First World War the same situation had played out. In February 1917 German submarines sank 230 vessels bringing food and vital supplies into the country. Great Britain very nearly starved. In 1917 the weekly allowance for sugar was just 340 grams. At one stage in the First World War there was only four days’ supply of sugar in the whole of the United Kingdom.

So, when the end of World War Two came it took a very long time to recreate the infrastructure necessary to allow people to freely buy however much sugar they wanted. New crops of Sugar Beet were established across Britain and new plantations of sugar cane were planted around the world.

On 25th September 1953 sugar once again became freely available to everyone. In the 21st century we are now asked to cut back on sugar intake for another reason, other than war, now it is to consider our health.

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