HFCS Sales Down

From AP:

U.S. use of the sweetener found in most soft drinks, cereals and a range of other products dropped 11 percent between 2003 and 2008, the most recent year figures were available. A number of companies also have stopped using corn syrup in some or all products, including Hunt’s ketchup, Snapple, Gatorade and Starbucks’ baked goods.

Producers blame the decline on a campaign that argues corn syrup is behind rising obesity in the U.S. and that favors sugar over the refined product, although most nutritionists find little difference between the two. They also accuse the sugar industry of pushing a campaign that has helped sugar refining increase about 7 percent from 2003 to 2008.

As of 2008, high fructose corn syrup makers produced an average of 53.1 pounds a year for every American, compared with 65.7 pounds of sugar produced for use in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agency doesn’t track consumption.

“I think what we’re seeing is a real awakening of public interest and public consciousness of the food we eat,” said activist Curt Ellis, a producer of the 2004 movie “King Corn” about subsidies that helped corn become a dominant U.S. crop.

Ellis added, though, that he wished Americans would stop eating so many sweeteners, whether refined from corn or sugar.

High-Fructose Corn Syrup: Dietary Scourge or Unfairly Maligned Sweetener?

From Epicurious:

When I went back and reread some of Pollan’s and Schlosser’s work, I discovered that they never actually said that replacing high-fructose corn syrup with sugar (as Hunt’s brand ketchup recently did in response to consumer demand) would solve the obesity problem. The problem with HFCS is more about the ubiquity of highly sweetened products as a whole. The corn crop is subsidized by the U.S. government, making HFCS much cheaper than sugar. This makes it easy for companies to produce extremely cheap, extremely unhealthy junk food, which then becomes the cheapest and easiest source of calories for people on a budget. This is why, in many underprivileged neighborhoods, you’ll find a glut of fast-food restaurants and bodegas selling processed snacks, but a dearth of (more expensive) fresh produce.