Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sugar, Sugar

According to the Wall Street Journal*, High Fructose Corn Syrup feels it is getting a bad rap. So it has hired a high profile ad agency to help it get back in the good graces of its prime target: moms.

The ad campaign? From what I can tell, its tagline seems to be
HFCS: Just as Bad for You as Sugar. Sweet.

Which totally reminds me of another great, if not highly effective, slogan,
Chlamydia: It's No Worse than Syphillis. Have some.

A diet high in sugar isn't good for anyone, I know. And studies show that both HFCS and sugar intake can lead to obesity in our fattish nation. So the corn people's logic is essentially that, although processed, HFCS contains the same ingredients as regular table sugar and should therefore not be avoided or removed from certain foods. Though this is not quite true (HFCS contains more fructose, which is tied to obesity at a greater rate than other -oses), let us suppose for a moment that they are the same.

Why would we eat the fake one instead of the natural one?

It appears that our country values wealth over health (shocking, I know.) Most of the foods that include HFCS do so because it is cheaper than sugar. Corn subsidies have driven down the price of corn syrup, and sugar import tariffs have made it more expensive to procure the real deal. Americans are paying more than twice the world price for sugar.

I know, this is more information than anyone wants or needs. But since I actually found myself highlighting portions of the WSJ article, I figured I should look into this more. Plus I just think it's a fascinating marketing choice. Watch for the ads on TV and in major newspapers:

HFCS: Your chubby body will never know the difference.

*I can't link to the article, because the paper lamely will not let you read it if you're not a subscriber.


Penny K said...

I don't get how "moms" can be the primary target market of these people. Moms are the most informed consumers out there. They really think they're going to put one over on the very women who are trying to protect their children from that crap? HFCS IS PEOPLE!!!

Sarah said...

Everyone wants the support of the "Mommy Bloggers" and their vast audience. They are powerful, those women.

But I completely agree with you, I don't see it happening. Maybe they should target teenagers.

ellie said...

i was surprised to realize that though this happens to be an issue i care very much about, the part of this posting that most captivated me was the image of sarah sitting with a cup of coffee highlighting the wall street journal. like, with a highlighter? dude.

Sarah said...

A pink highlighter!

Amanda said...

Were I a blogger, I would be tempted to expand this topic and call it “Stuff in Other Stuff is Bad.” As an almost-new mom myself, your post made me think about the list of all the stuff we are supposed to avoid. Parabens in your lotions and body washes? Bad. BPA or phthalates in your plastic products? Ooh, bad AND very hip to know it’s bad and buy the fashionable Sigg bottles in response. rBGH in your milk and cheese? Or lactose, for that matter? ALL VERY, VERY BAD.

What I want to know is, how did we get here, with all this bad stuff in our otherwise good stuff? Also, can you tell me if any of this stuff will cause me to go into labor? Because if it does, I will happily inhale it by the truckload.

Sarah said...

AZ-you SHOULD be a blogger.

Cynthia1770 said...

My HFCS google alert picked up your post. The Corn Refiners Assoc. (CRA) has one of the largest lobbys. My heart does not bleed. HFCS has invaded our food supply. Courtesy of the CRA, go to
P29-30 list all the foods and products that contain HFCS. It's
in cough syrups! Everytime you
drink or ingest HFCS you're getting a bolus of free fructose
with consequential long term health hazard. lists
foods that are HFCS-free.

Colleen_Katana said...

Oh my god. The syphilis line....I nearly choked on my coffee. Funniest thing I've read in a while.