High-fructose corn syrup is not sugar, says the FDA. When given a choice between high-fructose corn syrup and sugar, some consumers prefer that their treats be sweetened with sugar.

Hershey has heard that message from consumers and is considering removing high-fructose corn syrup from some of its products.

"We take into account what consumers want. And consumers are telling us between the two, they prefer sugar," Will Papa, chief research and development officer at The Hershey Co. told The Associated Press.

Hershey is exploring its options right now, and no decision has been made to remove the ingredient from any of its products. The iconic Hershey’s Bar does not include high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), but some of the chocolate company’s other products like York Peppermint Patty and Almond Joy do contain the highly processed sweetener made from corn.

There is an ongoing debate about whether HFCS is any worse nutritionally than refined sugar, but some studies show that it may cause more weight gain, diabetes and heart disease than sugar. Corn that is grown specifically to make high-fructose corn syrup is also bad for the planet because of the high amounts of chemicals and fertilizers used to grow it. And, because of corn subsidies, HFCS is cheap to make. It has become an ingredient in many foods that weren’t traditionally sweet, including tomato sauce and bread.

Of course, sugar is not high-fructose corn syrup’s healthy alternative, although it may not have some of the same negative effects as its corn cousin. Refined sugar is not a health food, and it should be consumed in limited amounts. But there are reasons to believe it’s not as unhealthy as HFCS, and consumers say they want it. That’s what Hershey is responding to.

When General Mills took genetically modified ingredients out of Original Cheerios or Kraft took the artificial colors out of some of its Macaroni & Cheese products, both companies denied it had anything to do with consumer demands. Personally, I think it’s hard to believe that’s true; so it’s good to see that Hershey is acknowledging that it is listening to what consumers want.

Of course, Hershey hasn’t made any changes yet. It’s simply considering them.

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Hershey says it's listening to consumers about high-fructose corn syrup
Many people would prefer that sweets contain sugar and not high-fructose corn syrup. Hershey is considering giving them what they want.