PepsiCo, the US food and drink group, is set to spend billions of dollars to reduce sugar, salt and fat in both existing and new drinks and snacks. This comes amid an obesity epidemic; regulatory pressure is intense and consumption of fizzy drinks such as Pepsi have dropped dramatically, forcing radical change on the industry. Nonetheless, these shifting eating habits have yet to be reflected in record obesity levels, which stand at 36.5 per cent of the overall US population.
PepsiCo’s chairman, Indra Nooyi, informed the Financial Times that the plan to make its products healthier was important for the company’s growth. According to its new “sustainability agenda”, PepsiCo is aiming to cut back production of beverages that contain more than 100 calories, from added sugars in a 12 ounce serving, by 2025. Approximately 60 per cent of the company’s beverages contain more than 100 calories from added sugars, and therefore, PepsiCo wants to reduce this to 33 per cent in the next nine years. “Even before people were talking about obesity, we saw consumer trends shifting and realised we couldn’t keep growing the top line” without making radical change, Ms Nooyi said.
PepsiCo are yet to reveal how much it plans to invest to reach its goals. However, Dr Mehmood Khan, chief scientific officer, emphasised that companies cannot cost-cut their way to increasing sales, whilst also stating that PepsiCo was “committed to sustaining investment” over the past five years.