The Sweetener Story: It’s Not Which Type, But How Much

Mintel Research Consultancy conducted a survey in May 2012 that looked at consumer behaviors and attitudes about sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) compared to the previous year. The study explored consumer purchase behavior across 12 high-volume food and beverage categories such as bread, yogurt, and cold cereals.

The study asked more than 2,000 consumers a series of 30 unaided questions to determine what product concerns were top of mind. In light of the spike in media coverage around sweeteners, Mintel sought to determine:

• Do consumers read labels? If so, what are they looking for? What are important considerations for consumers when buying a food or beverage product?
• How much awareness do consumers have around HFCS?
• Are there some food and/or beverage categories more likely to be impacted by HFCS concerns? If so, which ones?

For any food and beverage manufacturer trying to discern true consumer sentiment from the recent media buzz surrounding sweeteners, Mintel’s 2012 survey findings provide an insightful starting point.

For the latest independent research on HFCS and other caloric sweeteners, go to


Sara Martens, vice president at The MSR Group, serves as a consultant to major consumer products and services companies. Over the course of her nearly 20-year career in marketing and advertising, Sara has worked extensively in branding and strategy development. Since 2008, she has been studying consumer attitudes toward HFCS. In 2009, Sara joined The MSR Group, an independent full-service market research firm based in Omaha, Neb.


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