Name brand buyers seek to avoid sugar more than HFCS
by Jeff Gelski
WASHINGTON — Buyers of Coca-Cola and Pepsi soft drinks, Yoplait and Dannon yogurts, and Wonder and Sara Lee bread mentioned sugar more often than high-fructose corn syrup as specific ingredients they are trying to consume less of or avoid, according to a Mintel Research Consultancy study commissioned by the Washington-based Corn Refiners Association. While percentages varied by brand and food or beverage category, the percentages for sugar ranged between 17% and 26% while the percentages for HFCS ranged between 1% and 5%.
Mintel Research Consultancy performed a 13-question telephone survey with 2,400 primary household grocery shoppers in October of last year. The survey methodology was unaided, which means it did not suggest possible answers to respondents and did not have a menu of possible answers.
In the soft drink category, 21% said they were trying to consume less of or avoid sugar while 3% said HFCS. The soft drink brands included Pepsi (20% trying to consume less of or avoid sugar and 2% trying to consume less of or avoid HFCS), Coca-Cola (18% and 2%) and Dr Pepper (19% and 1%).
In the yogurt category, the percentages overall were 21% for sugar and 3% for HFCS. The brands included Yoplait (21% and 2%) and Dannon (22% and 2%).
In the bread category, the percentages overall were 21% for sugar and 3% for HFCS. The brands included Sara Lee (17% and 1%), Wonder (17% and 0%), Nature’s Own (26% and 5%), Oroweat (22% and 5%) and EarthGrains (25% and 3%).
The C.R.A. is the national trade association representing the U.S. corn refining (wet milling) industry.
“These findings directly contradict the unfounded buzz around specific sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup,” said Sara Martens, a spokesperson for the C.R.A. and vice-president of The MSR Group, a market research company based in Omaha. “Consumers aren’t responding to product formulation or menu item adjustments based on specific sweetening ingredients, and food and beverage industry decision-makers should consider this before investing in costly modifications.”