Südzucker factory Offenau

Offenau plant

Overview Started operations in 1971
Annual sugar production 200,000 to 270,000 tonnes
Raw material suppliers approximately 1,600 farmers
Employees about 200

Infobox icon

Factory tours
We offer factory tours only during the sugar beet processing campaign, from October to December/January. For more information, please contact the factory you would like to visit directly.


Südzucker AG - Werk Offenau
74254 Offenau
Phone: +49 7136 81-0
E-mail: [email protected]

About the factory

The plant operates twenty-four hours per day during the beet campaign between September and January. Several thousand tonnes of beets are delivered and converted to syrup and sugar per day. Some of the syrup produced daily is stored and converted to white sugar during a separate beet syrup campaign in May and June of the following year. The total volume of sugar produced at the factory can satisfy the needs of five to six million consumers. 

History of the factory

Reorganization of the sugar industry in Baden-Wuerttemberg: shutdown of the plants in Züttlingen, Heilbronn and Stuttgart, in return new construction of Offenau and extension of Waghäusel.

June 1964
In the supervisory board meeting, the purchase of the site of about 110 hectares in the communal district Offenau/Duttenberg in the administrative district Heilbronn, the so-called golden meadow, is approved.

October 1967
Decision to build the sugar factory Offenau with a daily capacity of 6,000 tonnes, concurrent drawing up of a redundancy package for the employees affected by the shutdowns in Züttlingen, Heilbronn and Stuttgart.

Winter 1967
As the first access road is constructed, the cultural heritage preservation works begin. It is expected to find only few prehistoric and early historic settlement remains. A volunteer of the historic museum of Heilbronn recognizes a Roman settlement in brick remains and shards on the field. In spring 1969, a dig is scheduled. Apart from the Roman settlement, a Bronze Age barrow (about 1200 BC) with a diameter of six meters is discovered. In there, they find an oval stone setting of 2.5 meters length where the remains of a burnt body have been scattered into. A second stone circle with a diameter of ten meters is found, too. This big grave enclosure does not have to give way to the construction works and – thanks to a suggestion of the Südzucker executive board - can be preserved on the factory premises of today. Until fall 1971, 227 fire and skeletal graves are recovered, a strip of ten meters width which parallels a paved street toward Bad Wimpfen, the Roman town.

Last difficulties concerning the land acquisition are finally resolved, the construction works begin in February. At first, the two sugar silos, the streets and railroad tracks are built. From July to October, the examination and shipping building, the main operation building with workshop and magazine as well as the administration building are constructed. In the following year, the central control office with turbine and boiler house, lime station, pellet drying, dry pellet warehouse and beet yard are installed.

20 September 1971
The plant is put into operation, the beet processing commences. At this time, the Offenau plant is the most modern sugar factory in Europe. The beet delivery takes place 70 percent on rail, 30 percent on the road. From about 80,000 tonnes of sugar, 35,000 tonnes of pellets with dry molasses and 15,000 tonnes of molasses are produced. In the same year, company dwellings are built: three twelve-family and eight single-family houses with garages. For the water supply of the plant, an existing small hydraulic power station on the Jagst is acquired by purchase and appropriately rebuilt. From the Jagst, 1,800 cubic meters of water are used per hour. The emergency water is also guaranteed through a smaller pipeline during downtime.

For an optimal energy utilization, the steam which is required for the production process is also used for electricity generation (combined heat and power).

As from 2002
Alteration of the small package station.

Within the Südzucker Group, the Offenau plant is a substantial site for the packaging and supply of the food retail market with household packages. In order to meet the logistic requirements at any time, an ultramodern high rack warehouse with 16,000 pallet spaces is put into service in 2005.

Investments with a total volume of 4.6 million euros:

  • Expansion of the syrup storage by one tank
  • New lighting and ventilation in the dispatch area
  • Beginning of the renovation of the sugar dissolving in the sugar house