Majority say they would not be affected by HFCS name change

July 29, 2011

In a recent SupermarketGuru quick poll, the consumer panel says no to changing the name of high fructose corn syrup to corn sugar.

Last September, the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to allow manufacturers the option of using 'corn sugar' as an alternative name for high fructose corn syrup. The CRA attributes this petition to an effort in eliminating consumer confusion about what is in their food, and they feel the name 'corn sugar' is a more accurate description of the ingredient. We conducted a quick poll on to find out what our readers thought about this name change, and here's what we found. 

When we asked our panel if they think the CRA should change the name from high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to 'corn sugar,' 76% said no, 16% said yes, and another eight percent said they are not sure. And that is not surprising since 70% also said that they always look for HFCS in the ingredients of products they buy. Twenty-two percent said they sometimes look, and another eight percent said they never look for this ingredient.

But even though almost three-quarters of our shoppers look for HFCS in the ingredients, that doesn't mean that they always avoid this ingredient. However, about half (54%) say they always avoid this ingredient, 34% say they sometimes avoid it, and 10% never avoid HFCS.

For the CRA, in the effort to improve shoppers' perception, changing the name could possibly have an impact on a small percentage, but the majority it seems won't be affected. We asked our readers if a name change to 'corn sugar' would affect them, and 67% said not a chance, 17% said maybe, and 16% said definitely. 

And no surprise, brands continue to replace HFCS with other sugars based on consumer complaints and demand.