Healthier snacking: PepsiCo Mexico achieves 24 percent sugar and salt reduction

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17 Aug 2018 --- PepsiCo Mexico has cut down on sugar and salt across its snacks portfolio by 24 percent as part of a long-term reformulation strategy designed to reduce added sugars and sodium across products.

Paula Santilli, president of PepsiCo Alimentos México, recently claimed the company has slashed sodium by almost a quarter as well as heavily reduced the levels of saturated fat in popular brand Cheetos, while other brands have been reinforced with vitamins and minerals and whole grains have been added to Quaker products. 

“In snacks, we have reduced sodium by almost 24 percent, which is easy to say and seems a very simple thing, but it is not so easy,” Santilli told Forbes. 

“We have changed all the oils of the Cheetos brand and today, the level of saturated fats is almost nonexistent.” 

“PepsiCo is working very hard to adapt our formulation in the product portfolio, in new ingredients that begin to appear and in the new preferences of consumers,” said the executive.

PepsiCo Mexico had planned to invest US$5 billion in Mexico between 2014-2019, however, this amount has already been exceeded.

“We have invested in our plants, which are totally changed in the distribution center and in the routes with hybrid trucks. We have invested more than US$5 billion and we will continue investing,” Santilli added.

Mexico was a pioneer in implementing a sugar tax on sugary soft drinks in a bid to cut alarming obesity rates, initially enforcing regulations of one peso per liter on January 1, 2014.

Around three years after it began the one peso tax on sugary sweetened drinks, there was evidence to show that fewer people were buying sodas with an overall decline of 7.6 percent. 

At the time of the research in 2017, the findings from Mexico were thought to encourage other countries to use fiscal policies to reduce consumption of unhealthy beverages, according to the authors of the study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health and the Mexican Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública (National Institute of Public Health).

PepsiCo says it will continue to refine its food and beverage choices to meet changing consumer needs by reducing added sugars, saturated fat and salt and by developing a broader portfolio of product choices.

One goal in terms of added sugar is for at least two-thirds of the global beverage portfolio volume to have 100 calories or fewer from added sugars per 12-oz. serving. Another goal for sodium reduction is for at least three-quarters of the global foods portfolio volume not to exceed 1.3 milligrams of sodium per calorie. 

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