Can You Afford the High Cost of Hype?
As a food and beverage manufacturer, it’s your job to make products that consumers want—again and again. If you think consumers are actively avoiding HFCS, it would make sense to go HFCS-free. However, those are not the facts.
Here’s what expert, independent research tells us about sweeteners:
Consumers aren’t avoiding HFCS.
In late 2012, Mintel Research Consultancy conducted a survey of 2,400 U.S. consumers on their attitudes toward HFCS. Findings from the unaided responses revealed:
Nearly 80% of consumers are concerned about total sugars, not a specific type.
Fewer than 3% say they are avoiding or reducing their consumption of HFCS.
HFCS-free products aren’t succeeding in the marketplace.
Since 2010, Nielsen has been collecting shopper data as part of a comprehensive review of retail products that switched to HFCS-free formulations. The review covers the performance of 25 leading brands of more than 3,200 SKUs in beverages, baked goods and prepared foods based on data going back to 2006. Regardless of market strategy, brands that switched have continually seen flat or falling marketing share.
To your body, sugar is sugar.
HFCS is similar in composition to sugar. It has the same calories as sugar. And once absorbed into the bloodstream, it’s indistinguishable from sugar. Numerous experts within the scientific community have reached this conclusion from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) and the American Medical Association. 123
Making dollars and sense of it all.
While sugar and HFCS are the same nutritionally, when it comes to your bottom line, there’s a huge difference. A bakery switching to granulated sugar will experience between a 50 to 85 percent increase in formulary costs.4 In soft drinks, switching to HFCS-free formulations almost doubles sweetener costs.5
From the production floor to the store shelf, switching sweeteners is costly. To make money and to make your customers happy, don’t buy the hype. According to independent consumer research, it doesn’t pay off.
1. American Medical Association press release, June 17, 2008.
2. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Use of Nutritive and Nonnutritive Sweeteners, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, May 2012.
3. Michael Jacobson, PhD, Executive Director, Center for Science in the Public Interest, USA Today, March 2, 2010.
4. David Guilfoyle, found and owner, Half Baked Innovations, “The True Cost of Switching from HFCS to Sugar,” December 2010.
5. NECG analysis, confidential sources; fully loaded COGS at bottler plant level before delivery costs. December 2011.