Not all Karo Syrup is the Same

The 32 oz bottles of Karo Light Corn Syrup cost between $4 and $5 each, which starts to add up, especially when you inadvertently destroy as many batches of candy as I have. So I began scouring around for a larger, industrial sized container. I was kind of shocked that Costco didn’t carry one.

On a swing by Winco I hit the jackpot: a one-gallon jug of Karo for nearly 1/2 the cost per ounce than the 32 oz jugs. I hoisted that baby up and lugged it home.

Which is where Marsha read the label.

One of the big reasons I started this little candy making thing was to avoid much of the ingredients that go into heavily processed modern candy, in particular high fructose corn syrup. (Yes, you should watch the whole thing.) So imagine my dismay when it was pointed out to me that the giant jug of syrup I’d just bought was loaded with it. Here’s a side by side comparison of the two different package of Karo:

Notice what’s missing from the front of the big jug? And here’s the ingredients:

The 32-ounce bottle of Karo.

The one-gallon jug of Karo has an extra ingredient.

The announcement of no HFC on the small Karo bottle is replaced with a “trusted since 1902″ plaque. I’d chalked it up to a difference between packages, alas.

I immediately went upstairs and wrote a nastygram to Karo, explaining what I was doing and why, and how disappointed I was that they’d sell two very different products under the (mostly) same label. Not to mention being out 11 bucks.

To my surprise, a customer service rep responded. In part:

We apologize that you’re unhappy with the High Fructose (HF) in Karo Syrup.  Please know we do have 2 formulas.  The food service size containers do contain HF.  As you’ve noticed, the smaller sizes contain no HF.

Unstated is the reason, but it’s simple enough: the smaller jugs are the consumer-facing ones. The food service containers are meant to be sold to, well, food service, where consumers would not see the label and be no the wiser. And the HFC lets them save a great deal on the cost.

To their credit, at least they responded, and a week later I got two coupons for free bottles of non-HFC Karo. And Winco took the one-gallon jug back, giving me store credit. But it still strikes me as rather dastardly.

That's like, five bucks!


Goes to show, read every label. If it doesn’t specify there’s no HFC on the front, that might be a clue, sort of like the absence of a label touting no trans fat usually means the goodies you’re eying are probably bursting with it.


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