It looks like Pepsi is heeding the consumer demand for healthier options. The company has announced an improvement—more aggressive—effort to cut sugar over the next ten years. This may not cut sugar out of soda completely but it is a start.
This is a $63 billion pledge to reduce sugar by two-thirds of the company’s product line will have no more than 100 calories from added sources per 12-ounce serving. This is, of course, in response to the World Health Organizations call for a 20 to 50 percent soda tax that is aimed at stemming the rise in both global diabetes and global obesity rates.
Indeed, PepsiCo announced, “Informed by the latest dietary guidelines of the World Health Organization and other authorities, the company will continue to refine its food and beverage choices to meet changing consumer needs by reducing added sugars, saturated fat and sodium levels in its product portfolio.”
Instead of going completely sugar free, though, Pepsi is reformulating some of its classic line of beverages. And they are looking for ways to reduce caloric content, which in turn will reduce sugar as well. They will be investing in zero-calorie beverages—like bottled water and “diet” drinks, of course—to introduce more unsweetened teas and juices. Also, Pepsi will package its full-sugar drinks into smaller, 100-calorie portions.
“We already have more than 300 beverages from zero to less than 100 calories,” explains PepsiCo senior vice president of communications, Jay Cooney. “We’re just providing customers with more options than they had in the past. So for example, if you want iced tea, there’s everything from Pure Leaf unsweetened tea to extra sweet tea.”
Of course, PepsiCo is also the owner/distributor of Frito-Lay Doritos, Cheetos, and Quaker Oats and Sabra Hummus. With all that, the company is also attempting to reduce its sugar/calorie content in these products as well. Within the next decade, the goal is also to reduce at least 75 percent of these products to 1.1 gms of saturated fat per 100 calories with less than 1.3 mgs of sodium per calorie.
Pepsi says that 25 percent of its revenue, last year, came from “everyday nutrition,” so it looks like they are on the right track. Still, Pepsi Chairman and Chief Executive Indra Nooyi notes, “PepsiCo’s journey is far from complete, and our new goals are designed to build on our progress and broaden our efforts.”