The popularity of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) among soft drinks producers is on the wane, according to recent research.

The Productscan Online database, collated by Datamonitor, has found that the number of new food and drink products launched worldwide claiming that they do not contain HFCS has nearly tripled so far this year, compared to the whole of 2006.

The industry analyst said today (13 September) that 146 new food and drink products have been launched worldwide this year, which state that they do not contain HFCS. This compares with 54 products that said they were HFCS-free in 2006 and just 53 products in 2005.

"Until recently, a handful of small companies said their products were free of HFCS," said Tom Vierhile, director of Datamonitor's Productscan Online database of new products. "What's new today is that some of the larger packaged food and beverage companies are removing high fructose corn syrup from their products including Kraft Foods, Dannon and Del Monte Foods."

The move away from HFCS seems more prevalent in the US, Datamonitor noted, citing the example of Danone's Dannon Company advertising its new Danimals Xtreme Drinkables Bursting with Fruit Flavor as having "only the good stuff", which means no HFCS.

Earlier this year, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition stated that there was no unique link between high fructose corn syrup and obesity. Even so, consumers want fewer processed foods in their lives, the analyst said, citing a 2006 Datamonitor consumer survey, in which 63% of American consumers reported that it was "important" or "very important" to reduce processed food consumption. 64% of consumers in the UK concurred, as did 73% of consumers in Italy.