America's Return to Sugar
Since its introduction to the American market at the end of the 1960s
HFCS and sugar have been battling for a place in America’s diet.
This battle has been complicated by sugar tariffs and corn
subsidies. The controversy over the health effects of HFCS has
possibly contributed to changing consumption patterns of sugar and HFCS
in the last 10 years.
In light of the controversy
over the health effects of HFCS and under pressure from consumers many
food manufacturers are now offering options with sugar instead of
high-fructose corn syrup. America’s return to sugar has not gone
unnoticed. A New York Times article printed in March 2009 titled
“Sugar is Back on Food Labels, This Time as a Selling Point” discussed
this trend. Large corporations are now offering special products
without HFCS or even switching over from HFCS to sugar completely. For
example, PepsiCo, ConAgra, Kraft Foods, and Pizza Hut have all gone
back to sugar in at least some of their products. There are now
options on the shelves like Pepsi Natural, Mountain Dew Throwback,
Healthy Choice All Natural frozen entrees, and even a Pizza Hut pizza
called “The Natural,” (Severson). Snapple, the iced tea maker,
revamped its recipe and took out high-fructose corn syrup in 2009 after
focus groups and taste tests (Lee).
These new product offerings are
partly due to consumer demands. Signs of citizen demands for
foods that contain sugar instead of HFCS include consumers buying
Coca-Cola made in Mexico or Europe because their sodas usually use
sugar instead of HFCS (Donovan, 2009). Some stores have even
rationed the Coca-Cola made during Passover that does not contain corn
for their pro-cane sugar shoppers (Severson, 2009). The consumer
does have the power to choose what sodas they buy and more and more
options are popping up to meet America’s demand for less HFCS.
Figure 5: New drinks that do not contain HFCS, photo by Great Beyond
Figure 2: Corn Sweeteners Train Car, photo by boeke