Healthier choices prompt producers to shift to panocha/muscovado
Sugar producers have taken note of the trend towards healthier alternatives and have geared their production to meet higher demand.
According to data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, producers have raised their production of panocha or muscovado by 6.8 percent.
Muscovado is made by boiling the juice extracted from sugarcane until it is reduced to a certain consistency.
The mixture is then dried under the sun.
Once the sugar hardens, it is then pounded into granules.
It is healthier than refined sugar because it maintains the nutrients from the juice, unlike refined sugar which is subjected to harsh chemical solutions and go through several more stages of heating, filtering, and bleaching that reduces its nutritional content and adds other chemicals.
A hundred grams of muscovado sugar contains 3.9 mg of phosphorus, 85 mg of calcium, 23 mg of magnesium, 100 mg of potassium, and 1.3 mg of iron.
White refined sugar no longer has trace minerals.
BAS data said the volume of sugarcane production in the Philippines declined by 7.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 7.4 million metric tons as the total area devoted for sugarcane dropped by four percent.
Production of refined sugar dropped by eight percent to 7.3 million tons while muscovado production grew by 6.8 percent to 57,333 tons. (By: Eileen A. Mencias)