“If a food and beverage company is not looking at nutrition, they are not looking at the direction the world is going in.”
PepsiCo Inc has set a target to reduce the amount of sugar in its soft drinks around the world as part of a suite of goals aimed at tackling problems ranging from obesity to climate change. The New York-based company has announced that by 2025 at least two thirds of its drinks will have 100 calories or fewer from added sugar per 350ml serving, up from its current 40 per cent.
It plans to achieve this goal by introducing more zero and low-calorie drinks and reformulating existing drinks. This move has been made as PepsiCo and rival Coca-Cola come under increasing pressure from health experts and governments who blame them for fuelling epidemics of obesity and diabetes.
“When we have an obesity crisis, I think there is more that we can be doing,” says Mindy Lubber, president of non-profit organisation Ceres, which pushes companies and investors to take action on sustainability.
PepsiCo says the new global target is more ambitious than its previous goal of reducing sugar by 25 per cent in certain drinks in certain markets by 2020.
“The science has evolved,” said Mehmood Khan, PepsiCo’s chief scientific officer of research and development. He gave an example of new flavour ingredients that require less sweetening, saying “It’s not just about sweeteners, it’s about understanding the flavour ingredients and having proprietary knowledge and access to them.”
Despite its name, PepsiCo generates only 12 per cent of its $63 billion in annual revenue from its famous cola brand. It makes 25 per cent from carbonated soft drinks such as Mountain Dew, with the rest coming from waters and juices including the Tropicana brand, plus snacks and dips such as hummus and guacamole.
Its 2025 goals also include targets for lowering sodium and saturated fat.