Pep­siCo sees growth from “guilt-free” items like Baked Lay’s

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - BUSINESS -

NEW YORK >> What do Baked Lay’s potato chips, Sim­ply Tos­ti­tos chips and Diet Moun­tain Dew have in com­mon? They’re all “guilt-free,” ac­cord­ing to how Pep­siCo cat­e­go­rizes them.

In re­port­ing higher global sales Wed­nes­day, Pep­siCo CEO In­dra Nooyi re­it­er­ated in a call with Wall Street an­a­lysts that 45 per­cent of the com­pany’s rev­enue now comes from such “guilt-free” prod­ucts. The fig­ure underscores how food mak­ers are try­ing to po­si­tion them­selves to keep pace with the shift to­ward the whole­some op­tions they say peo­ple want.

There’s de­bate about what’s con­sider health­ful among con­sumers. And ideas about it can change. Last year, the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion said it is re-eval­u­at­ing its guide­lines for when com­pa­nies can use the term “healthy” on pack­ag­ing to re­flect the lat­est sci­ence. The maker of Kind fruit and nut bars, which had been warned about its use of the term, had said the agency’s def­i­ni­tion is out­dated.

Pep­siCo Inc., the maker of Dori­tos, Trop­i­cana and Ga­torade, con­sid­ers in the guilt-free cat­e­gory prod­ucts with “pos­i­tive” in­gre­di­ents such as grains, fruits and veg­eta­bles. That would in­clude its Naked bev­er­ages, a few va­ri­eties of which have more than 400 calo­ries and 50 grams of sugar from fruits per bot­tle, and Quaker prod­ucts, such as the “break­fast cookie” which has 180 calo­ries, 6 grams of fat and 14 grams of sugar.

Drinks with less than 70 calo­ries per 12-ounce serv­ing are also part of that same cat­e­gory, as are snacks with less sat­u­rated fat or sodium than their reg­u­lar coun­ter­parts.

Though Pep­siCo Inc. doesn’t stamp its pack­ages with the “guilt-free” la­bel it uses with Wall Street, the idea comes through in prod­uct names like “sim­ply” and “baked” and in how they’re gen­er­ally mar­keted.

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