June 8, 2009
Thank you for your recent email.
As you can imagine, consumer feedback is very important to us, and we appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concerns about the use of high fructose corn syrup in Heinz products.
Recent media reports have called attention to high fructose corn syrup and its role in the U.S. diet. Many of these articles attempt to link its consumption to obesity.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (December 2008 edition) published their findings from a symposium held by a group of scientific leaders where it was determined that there is no evidence to support the previously held conception that the use of high fructose corn syrup is a major cause of obesity in the United States.
This group, which included several experts who had previously voiced concern over the use of high fructose corn syrup, conceded that there is not an issue with high fructose corn syrup, which is a combination of fructose and a secondary sugar and is metabolized by the body the same as sucrose. However, recent studies of 'fructose' which is compositionally different from 'high fructose corn syrup' have created confusion for the industry and consumers.
We suggest you visit www.sweetsurprise.com for a more in-depth explanation of this most recent study.
Also, as always, it is important to recognize that excess calories from any source can contribute to increased weight in the absence of exercise. It is incorrect to focus on any specific food or ingredient in attempting to address obesity. In moderation, all foods can fit into a healthful, balanced diet.
The Food & Drug Administration's Obesity Working Group released a report whose primary recommendation was 'calorie count.' This recommendation reflects sound science and a wealth of research. This report suggests that instead of focusing on any one food ingredient, the most important message is that, to manage weight, you must balance calories consumed against energy expended. To lose weight, calorie expenditure must be greater than calories consumed.
The good news is, we here at Heinz provide an assortment of food choices for consumers interested in lower calorie alternatives and special diets. Our Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen food line offers a vast array of entrees, desserts and snacks that are low in calories and fat, but high in taste, to fulfill those dietary needs. And, you will be especially pleased to hear that in our condiment line, we offer Heinz Reduced-Sugar Ketchup (which is sweetened with sucralose), a No Salt-Added Ketchup, and the increasingly popular Heinz Organic Ketchup, which is sweetened only with organic cane sugar.
We are also very excited to announce that growers at the H.J. Heinz research and development farm have developed a new hybrid tomato using traditional breeding techniques which is 5% - 10% sweeter than the Heinz Seed Tomatoes that are currently being used for all Heinz Ketchup. This new breed of naturally sweeter tomato will gradually be phased into the product within the next few years decreasing the amount of sweeteners needed to maintain the delicious taste of Heinz Ketchup.
Once again, we are always glad to hear from our consumers, especially one as loyal to Heinz products as you.
Heinz Consumer Resource Center