January 19/Chicago/Press Release -- The food ingredient landscape is changing, with consumers shifting their focus away from specific ingredients to overall calories and nutrition. A new report gives food and beverage manufacturers the latest information about consumer perceptions and the usage of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to help them develop forward-thinking sweetener strategies. Resources, including a white paper, are now available at www.cornnaturally.com/HFCSwhitepaper. 

The information can help manufacturers and marketers assess their sweetener strategies and make effective, long-term formulation decisions based on Mintel data, Nielsen data and scientific research. The report was developed by the New England Consulting Group and sponsored by the Corn Refiners Association and includes such topics as:

Consumer attitudes – Mintel research shows the public is not concerned with specific ingredients; rather, they are focused on total calories and overall nutrition. However, food and beverage companies could be making important business decisions based on the misperception that many consumers are avoiding HFCS.

The science of sweeteners – The weight of the credible scientific community agrees that HFCS and sugar are similar in composition, have the same calories and are metabolized in the same way by the human body.

Marketing to consumers –Nielsen data confirms that brands that are marketing “HFCS-free” as a point of differentiation are not seeing increases in sales as a result.

Production costs – HFCS is significantly less expensive than sugar as an input cost and is usually much easier to work with during production and materials handling, reducing both labor and capital costs.

“Food and beverage marketers have the opportunity to develop sweetener strategies that focus on overall nutrition rather than singling out specific ingredients,” said David Lockwood, senior analyst, Mintel Research Consultancy in a prepared statement. “Our research with thousands of consumers found that only 4% are reducing or avoiding HFCS, which indicates a major gap between what people say and what they really do.”

 From the January 19, 2012, Prepared Foods' Daily News.