Oh, Sugar! [High Fructose Corn Syrup gets an Image Makeover]


High Fructose Corn Syrup.

The name itself strikes fear into the hearts of mothers around the country. Even the First Lady Michelle Obama has publicly admitted to not wanting her own children eating it.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is associated with a number of negative impressions. Conflicting reports tell us that the ingredient is carcinogenic one day, healthy the next. One account says it’s a leading cause of obesity while the next says it’s no worse than any other forms of sugar. The conflicting communications have led to cognitive dissonance in the general population. We’re not sure what to believe, what to trust.

To remedy the negative perception of high fructose corn syrup, the Corn Refiners Association has asked the federal government for permission to officially change the ingredient’s name to “Corn Sugar.”

The image “makeover” campaign has kicked off, with the introduction of CornSugar.com, a community where curious consumers can learn more about the “real” High Fructose Corn Syrup.  The website proclaims:

There is a lot of information available online about high fructose corn syrup, and along with it, a lot of misinformation. We want to make sure that consumers have access to credible research and science-based information in order to make informed decisions about added sugars in the diet, including high fructose corn syrup or corn sugar.

The website includes testimonials from groups and individuals such as the FDA, Informational Food Information Council, a Mayo Clinic Nutritionist, and other experts in the fields of health and food. These endorsements lend a much-needed source credibility to a subject that remains confusing for many consumers.

So will it work? Previous product renaming has worked in the past.

  • Successful? In 1988, low eurcic acid rapeseed oil became what we know today as “canola oil”
  • Unsuccessful? In 2000, Prunes decided to ditch their dull name for “dried plums”

With a strong public campaign, High Fructose Corn Syrup might just become the more linguistically pleasing Corn Sugar. Steering clear of the past associations with obesity, diabetes, and various forms of cancer, Corn Sugar will focus on its healthy and natural connections.

The website includes frequently asked questions, plain facts, and even a video gallery showcasing the campaign’s television commercials.  Contact information for further questions and concerns is also available.

Further Reading & References:

http://healthland.time.com/2010/09/14/high-fructose-corn-syrup-might-get-a-makeover/

www.CornSugar.com

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