Corn syrup has received a lot of flack lately in the media: from causing obesity to pancreatic cancer, the popular sweetener that appears in hundreds of food products in the U.S. has gotten itself a bad name. The Corn Refiners Association of America has vehemently pushed back against negative claims about corn syrup–but largely without success has the detrimental health effects of eating too much corn syrup continue to mount.
Perhaps, in an attempt to change public opinion of corn syrup, the corn lobbyists recently decided they want to change the name of the sweetener. In other words, while they might not be able to change the dangerous effects of corn syrup, they can at least make the name sound less frightening–by aligning it with more natural forms of sweetener like sugar. In fact, The Corn Refiners Association of America plans to apply with the Food and Drug Administration today to get the name “corn sugar” approved as an alternative name for corn syrup on food labels.
Americans have already cut their corn syrup consumption to a twenty-year low amidst fears of declining health and obesity. While approval of the name change may take up to two years, the corn lobbyist haven’t wasted any time using the new name in advertising campaigns. Indeed, there’s a new online marketing campaign as well as a television campaign attempting to “alleviate consumer confusion” about the differences between corn sugar and cane sugar. The commercials make the sweeping conclusion that “whether it’s corn sugar or cane sugar, your body can’t tell the difference. Sugar is sugar.” In the past, product name changes have been successful. For example, low eurcic acid rapeseed oil became much more popular after becoming “canola oil” in 1988 and prunes became “dried plums” in 2000. It will be interesting to see if the new imaging campaign of corn syrup will be enough to change American sentiments about the sweetener.