A sugar packet is a delivery method for one 'serving' of sugar. Sugar packets are commonly supplied in restaurants, coffeehouses and tea houses in preference to sugar bowls or sugar dispensers for reasons of neatness, sanitation, spill control, and to some extent portion control.
A typical sugar packet in the United States contains 2 to 4 grams of sugar. Some sugar packets in countries such as Poland contain 5 to 10 grams of sugar. Sugar packet sizes, shapes, and weights differ throughout different areas of the world.
The sugar cube was used in restaurants until it began to be replaced directly after World War II. At this time, machines were made that could produce small packets of sugar for nearly half the cost.
The sugar packet was invented by Benjamin Eisenstadt, the founder of Cumberland Packing or better known today as the Sweet 'N Low company. Ben had been a tea bag factory worker, and became irritated by the task of refilling and unclogging all the sugar dispensers in his Brooklyn cafeteria across from the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He didn't patent the idea, and after discussions with larger sugar companies, lost market share.
Because a gram of any carbohydrate contains 4 nutritional calories (also referred to as "food calories" or kilo-calories)), a typical four gram sugar packet has 16 nutritional calories.