There are several steps involved in the production of VHP sugar. First, the harvested cane must be shredded and cut in preparation for milling. The cane is then sent through rollers and subsequently through crushing devices that squeeze the juice out of the cane, separating it into two products, sugar juice, which will be refined into VHP sugar, and dry fibrous material known as bagasse, which will be recycled or used as fuel.
The sugar juice is then piped to a different part of the mill, where it is boiled in vacuum pans to remove excess water and concentrate the sugar content. Sugar dust crystals are then added to the juice to encourage the growth of sucrose crystals, which form around the dust crystals. When they are fully grown, both the liquid and the crystals are fed into a centrifugal chamber which spins the mixture at very high speeds, driving the liquid content away from the sugar crystals. What is left is high grade ‘A’ sugar and ‘A’ molasses (also referred to as first molasses). The high grade ‘A’ sugar is known as VHP.
The first molasses is then boiled again and subjected to a further crystal growth process. When crystals are grown, they are once more sent into the centrifugal chamber and spun to separate crystal from molasses. The results from this reprocessing are known as "B sugar", and second, or dark molasses. The second molasses does not contain nearly as much sucrose as the first molasses, and "B sugar" is also of lower quality.
The process is then repeated again, this time with the products being final molasses, also known as ‘C’ molasses, or black strap molasses, and ‘C sugar'. In some cases, the B and C sugars will then be remelted into a liquid solution and recrystallized to make high grade VHP sugar.