June 29, 2012

Podcast: Removing high fructose corn syrup falls flat for food brands

In this podcast, Andy Jobman, a farmer from Gothenburg and member of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, noted that high fructose corn syrup has made headlines for different reasons recently.

First, the Food and Drug Administration denied a petition by the Corn Refiners Association that sought to use the term 'corn sugar' instead of 'high fructose corn syrup'. FDA did not address or question the overwhelming scientific evidence that high fructose corn syrup is a form of sugar and nutritionally the same as other sugars.

Jobman said it is important to note that FDA still considers HFCS a form of sugar and that it will be identified to consumers in that category on the nutrition fact panel on foods and beverages.

A second reason HFCS made headlines was because ConAgra confirmed it was reformulating its Hunt’s ketchup brand to include high fructose corn syrup. If you recall, Omaha-based ConAgra made a big splash in 2010 when it took HFCS out of all its ketchup.

"Apparently consumers didn’t care and the company didn’t see the sales boost it had hoped for," Jobman said.

ConAgra, like many other companies who have removed HFCS from their products, learned that in the real world, most consumers simply aren’t that worried about it. Soda brands, soup brands, fresh bread brands, snack crackers, bottles of iced tea...none saw a sustained boost in market share after declaring they were free high fructose corn syrup.

For some numbers and research surrounding this issue, be sure to listen to the podcast!

Nebraska Corn Kernel podcasts are also available on iTunes! Click here to subscribe.

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