Despite their best efforts, the Corn Refiners Association seems to be failing in its attempt to turn public opinion in favor of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). (BTW, here’s a nice, quick counterpoint to the CRA’s spin-a-rific ads.)
Now some “food manufacturers” are taking advantage of the HFCS-backlash, returning to sugar for its retro comfort appeal and reconstructed image as a “natural” sweetener. As the industry site foodnavigator.com reports,
Sugar could be shedding its bad boy image to take a surprise spot on the public’s list of trusted ingredients, as manufacturers look to appeal to more savvy consumers.
High fructose corn syrup in several major-brand soft drinks is being replaced with old-fashioned sugar.
Last week, the vice president of marketing for Snapple told this website that the switch to sugar in its iced teas was all about “delivering great taste”. But he said there’s nothing wrong with the taste of HFCS – indeed, the company sees the two sweeteners as “about the same”.
Like Snapple, similar moves for newly released soft drinks include ‘retro versions’ of Pepsi and Mountain Dew, which feature 1970s-style packaging and 1970s-style formulation, sweetened with sugar instead of HFCS.
There could be nothing more to it than taste, of course, but given current consumer attitudes to HFCS, it seems possible that this is being used as a trial run for a wider move back to sugar.
On the one hand, as anti-HFCS folks, we can appreciate the move back to sugar. And we agree, products made with it do taste better – less chemical, more real. (Compare a standard US-formula Pepsi with a European one sometime.) But to claim the label of “natural” is to also claim an aura of healthfulness that simply does not apply to sugar.
Plain and simple: sugar is NOT a health food but more of a health fiend. If used at all, it should be used sparingly. (Likewise with sugar substitues, many of which have their own negative impacts on health. For instance, it’s recently come to light that Splenda (sucralose) reduces the amount of beneficial microflora in the gut.)
Ignore all the hype. Learn about your food. Make wise choices.