number of U.S. products containing HFCS
September 15, 2011 1:14 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to find the number of food products that are sold in the U.S. that contain high fructose corn syrup. I've done some preliminary searches and have found some lists, but I've come up dry when trying to find actual numbers. I'd like a reliable source that I can cite, but I'll take almost anything at this point. I am at a university and have access to a large number of subscription database resources, so I'll keep looking. But I thought metafilter might be able to help out here.
posted by pahool to Food & Drink (6 answers total)
Are you looking for actual products or categories (i.e., "X brand lemon cake in a 500 g package" or "cake")? I think you could come up with a pretty comprehensive list of categories but actual products - I have no idea where to look.
posted by Fiery Jack at 1:36 PM on September 15, 2011

It's hard to imagine how this would be possible. There is not going to be an accurate list of food products sold in the U.S. period, let alone, food containing HFCS. What do you intend to do with this figure?

What you can get is the mass of HFCS shipped by members of the Corn Refiners Association in 2009 from the 2010 Corn Annual: 20,640,702,000 lb. There might be other useful figures in that annual report or other CRA Publications.
posted by grouse at 1:48 PM on September 15, 2011

Foods and Products Containing High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

Items from popular fast food restaurants that contain High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Could you perhaps look up individual items for sales numbers per year?
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:50 PM on September 15, 2011

Best answer: First you need to define "food product" - that's a complicated category. Looking at a hypothetical wholesale catalog, I can find the same product - let's use Coca Cola - in 12oz cans, in 20oz plastic bottles, in those stupid aluminum bottles, in 2 liter bottles, in concentrated syrup form for use in soda fountains, and in 8oz, 12oz, or 16.9oz glass bottles imported from Mexico. (Furthermore, the wholesaler will consider each different packaging permutation - cans in 6 packs, cans loose in a box, whatever - as a different "SKU").

To confuse things even more, the imported Mexican coke might show up (I've seen this with my own eyes) with an ingredients label that includes "cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup" - which doesn't inspire a whole lot of confidence in the idea that anyone is keeping track of this kind of information for imported goods.

Finally, my own experiences working with food wholesalers and importers suggests that they may simply not have this data. They're hard-pressed to even provide their customers with current product catalogs (some of the ones the store I worked at used were a solid 10% discontinued items) - and many of them still haven't started using computers to keep track of their stock.
posted by bubukaba at 1:51 PM on September 15, 2011

And remember that HFCS isn't always labled as such, they can easily mask what it is by calling it another equally legal name (see: Vitamen Water)
posted by zombieApoc at 7:49 PM on September 15, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks all. I didn't think anyone was answering this question, but just now (a month later) realized that it was because my browser was caching metafilter pages weirdly. I appreciate all the responses. I was trying to get this information for a student writing a paper. We ended up using some related data from the FDA that wasn't exactly what we were looking for. I really appreciate the answers and will forward them to the student, even though the paper is long since written by now.
posted by pahool at 2:42 PM on October 19, 2011

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