NEW YORK – PepsiCo Inc. plans to cut the sodium found in each serving of its key brands by one-fourth in five years, the company announced Monday, as the industry deals with pressure from the government and health-conscious shoppers who want more options.
The maker of Frito-Lay chips and Pepsi drinks announced several nutrition goals Monday at the start of a two-day investor conference.
The company also set two goals for the next 10 years: to cut the average added sugar per serving by 25 percent and saturated fat per serving by 15 percent, in addition to adding more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy into its array of products.
An array of food makers have announced similar goals recently as they come under more pressure from government and consumers. Last week Kraft Foods Inc. pledged to cut salt in its products sold in North America by an average of 10 percent over the next two years. ConAgra Foods Inc. and Campbell Soup Co. have also announced sodium cuts.
Many health leaders have urged food makers to reformulate their products to reduce salt. First Lady Michelle Obama has made the fight against childhood obesity a top priority. Last week she asked the nation's largest food makers at a meeting of the Grocery Manufacturers Association to "step it up" and put less fat, salt and sugar in foods.
PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi told investors Monday that shoppers are focusing more on value amid the recession and on improving their health. She said governments around the world are exerting pressure to improve nutrition, but the company isn't waiting for mandates.
"So we're off doing our thing because the consumer is shifting," she said at the event at Yankee Stadium.
Last week the company announced it would remove full-calorie, sweetened drinks from schools worldwide by 2012. Both PepsiCo, the world's second-biggest soft drink maker, and No. 1 player Coca-Cola Co. adopted guidelines to stop selling sugary drinks in U.S. schools in 2006.
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