Trade group challenges high fructose syrup stigma

WASHINGTON: The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) launched a new PR and advertising campaign to battle what it calls "myths" and "inaccuracies" in the media about the use of high fructose corn syrup (HRCS) in foods.

WASHINGTON: The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) launched a new PR and advertising campaign to battle what it calls “myths” and “inaccuracies” in the media about the use of high fructose corn syrup (HRCS) in foods.

Consumers often believe corn syrup is less healthy or has more calories than table sugar or honey, according to the CRA, yet the American Medical Association (AMA) recently said that HFCS “does not contribute more to obesity than other caloric sweeteners.” AMA board member William Dolan, MD, however, tempered the group's conclusion on corn syrup by recommending that, "Consumers limit the amount of all added caloric sweeteners."

A core piece of the CRA campaign will be showing audiences side-by-side comparisons of common sugars found in food and beverages, including honey, table sugar, and saccharin.

“There's been considerable misunderstanding and the goal of the campaign is to change the conversation about high fructose syrup and demonstrate its parity with sugar and honey,” said CRA president Audrae Erickson.

Target audiences include consumers, particularly moms, and healthcare professionals that the CRA aims to reach through a mix of advertising in print, TV, and online, with those ads to be complemented by media outreach to both consumer and healthcare trade publications. DDB in Chicago developed the new advertising campaign, as originally reported by the Wall Street Journal. Full page ads directing readers to the SweetSuprise.com Web site from CRA appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications on Monday.

Efforts to communicate with healthcare pros also include direct mail and sponsorship of conferences and other events involving medical associations.

Erickson said the trade group has done outreach on the issue for years, but that this new effort involves more aggressive media outreach plus the ad campaign. Erickson declined to say which PR firm is aiding the effort. Alexandria, VA-based Creative Response Concepts previously worked with CRA on outreach related to the issue of corn syrup and obesity.

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