Name change for high-fructose corn syrup

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According to a recent NY Times article (click here to read it), a corn industry group in the U.S. is trying to get the FDA to change the name of the very commonly used sweetener. They want to change high-fructose corn syrup to simply ‘corn sugar’. They say that the current name confuses consumers and makes them believe that it is worse than regular sugar. Most scientists agree with that assessment and believe that it is no better or worse than regular sugar.

What is interesting is not that they want to give the ingredient a new name. In fact, this is not a misleading name change since corn syrup doesn’t exactly sound healthy either. However, the fact that an industry group is seeing problems with a name of an ingredient that only shows up in the fine print ingredients list of products is a reflection of the sign of the times we live in. Not too long ago, no one would care in the slightest what this ingredient is called because most consumers didn’t care to read the ingredients list to begin with. With all the health concerns out there now though, this is one of the first things we look at when deciding if we choose to purchase a food item or not.

In the past when a company was creating their packaging for food, they generally focused on the front to make it enticing. However now, the standard looking ingredients list and nutritional information box is closely examined by many consumers. This means that companies have to think through the production of the product because people care a lot more about what is in the food than they used to. On the plus side though, if a company does a good job of making a healthy and good tasting product with attractive packaging then it could set them apart from the competitors. Overall, this is a good evolution in the industry because it increases the quality of the food we consume.