September 15, 2010

Taste test at Husker Harvest Days: HFCS, cane sugar or stevia?

The good folks at the University of Nebraska's Food Processing Center have a great exhibit at Husker Harvest Days this year. They offer three samples of a sweetened drink – each sweetened differently – and ask tasters to pick their favorite.

After someone tries all three and picks, they are told which sweetener was in their drink of choice – high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), cane sugar or stevia (in this case Cargill's Truvia product). If needed, a bit of education was also provided.

For example, I heard the staff on hand explain that yes, cane sugar and HFCS are exactly the same thing, and that both have the same number of calories. They provided other details and information as necessary – what a great teaching moment!

Laurie Keeler, senior manager for product development with the Food Processing Center, gave me the results from day one of the HHD taste test.

Of those who took the test...drum roll please:
  • 46 percent preferred HFCS,
  • 39 percent preferred cane sugar, and
  • 15 percent preferred Truvia.
Many people had a difficult time choosing between HFCS and cane sugar. Keeler said many people liked them equally but picked one when pressed. (This makes sense considering that a sugar is a sugar.)

She also said corn farmers almost always always chose HFCS, which is interesting. Others who usually chose HFCS were young people, while older people tended to drift towards sugar. Those who were diabetic preferred the Truvia.

For more on HFCS and sugar, check out these previous posts:

1 comment:

  1. Wednesday's results are similar with 43% HFCS ("corn sugar"); 42% sugar and 15% Truvia.