Beverage Processors Switching from HFCS

Jones Soda Co., the quirky Seattle beverage company known for such unusual flavors as strawberry lime, fufu berry and turkey and gravy, recently and quietly converted its entire line of sodas to cane sugar.

By Mark Anthony, Ph.D., Technical Editor

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"We have always felt cane sugar is a better sweetener," said Peter van Stolk, Jones founder and CEO. "It has a cleaner taste. Sugar has a nicer mouth feel. It is not thick."

Jones is promoting the change with the slogan: "Corn is for cars. Sugar is for soda." Adds Van Stolk: "There is nothing we make in Jones Soda that has high-fructose corn syrup except our energy drink, and we're switching that in the third quarter."

The selling point for agave syrup, an increasingly popular sweetener made from cactus, is its high fructose content. Melissa's/World Variety Produce, Los Angeles, uses agave as a substitute for sugar in most products in its Good Life Food product line of shelf-stable organic foods, including salad dressings, stir fry sauces, marinades, and pasta sauces.

Pure fructose, which has escaped the criticism leveled at HFCS, sweetens some innovative beverages. Fuze Beverage LLC, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., lightly sweetens its "healthier" beverages with fructose, along with low-calorie sweeteners.

Glacéau, Whitestone, N.Y., created both its Vitaminwaters and Fruitwaters with a touch of pure crystalline fructose, as well as electrolytes and nutrients. "Crystalline fructose is simply pure 100 percent fructose in crystalline form that offers unique benefits, including improved product texture, taste, and stability," says COO Carol Dollard.

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