In a somewhat positive news for consumers, Hunt’s ketchup product line will no longer contain contain high fructose corn syrup, ConAgra Foods announced on Monday. The high fructose corn syrup will be replaced with sugar from sugar cane.
“In direct response to consumer demand, Hunt’s is pleased to offer ketchup sweetened with sugar and containing only five simple ingredients,” said Ryan Toreson, Hunt’s Ketchup brand manager, in a company news release on Monday. Despite the change in the recipe, the ketchup maintains the same taste and prices are to remain unaffected.
Some say that the change is significant since many nutritionists have tied consumption of high fructose corn syrup to obesity. Many other nutritionists, however, see sugar consumption to be just as detrimental to health as high fructose corn syrup. The ingredient change raises doubts as to the overall impact of this substitution and as to whether it will only confuse customers. Nonetheless, the change is important to the extent that it eliminates an artificial ingredient from another product at the dinner table and shows that industry is not immune to change.
The company began rolling out the new ketchup to major markets nationwide in mid-April and by mid-May they expect to have the new ketchup available everywhere.
This news comes on the heels of another healthy change to the iconic Heinz ketchup recipe that was announced last week. Over the summer Heinz will reduce sodium contained in its ketchup by 15 percent. It will be the first significant change to their ketchup formula in nearly 40 years. Heinz made the announcement just after FDA announced plans for an unprecedented effort to limit salt in processed foods.
While the Heinz recipe change may bring back for some the New Coke’s colossal failure (when Coca Cola attempted to change their traditional recipe), the key difference here is that Heinz’s change, as well as the change to Hunt’s ketchup, is driven by health concerns as part of a new social wellness movement and that fact should make it welcomed by consumers. Also, Heinz recipe improvements will take place without any changes to the labeling or packaging design.