Pepsi to cut salt, sugar and saturated fats

PHILADELPHIA, March 21 Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:56pm EDT

PHILADELPHIA, March 21 (Reuters) - PepsiCo Inc (PEP.N) said on Sunday it would cut the levels of salt, sugar and saturated fats in its top-selling products.

The company, which owns the Pepsi, Frito-Lay and Quaker brands, said it plans a reduction of 25 per cent the average sodium per serving in major global food brands in key markets by 2015.

It also would reduce the average saturated fat per serving by 15 percent by 2020, and cut the average added sugar per serving in key global beverage brands by 25 percent by 2020.

Meanwhile, it will increase whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and low-fat dairy in its product portfolio.

"We believe that a healthier future for all people and our planet means a more successful future for PepsiCo," said Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo chairman and chief executive officer.

"These commitments are shared by all of our businesses and reflect our focus on profitable, long-term growth and will guide us as we continue to build a portfolio of enjoyable and wholesome foods and beverages for consumers around the world."

Similar steps have been taken recently by other US food companies such as ConAgra Foods Inc (CAG.N), Kraft Foods Inc KFT.N and Campbell Soup Co (CPB.N).

Last week, Pepsi said it would to stop sales of full-sugar soft drinks to primary and secondary schools on a global scale by 2012.

Lawmakers in more than a dozen U.S. states are campaigning to tax sugary beverages to cover obesity-related health costs. [ID:nN15206232]

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama -- who is leading a major administration initiative on child obesity -- has urged food makers to work faster to re-formulate or re-package food to make it healthier for kids. [ID:nN16109102]

(Additional reporting by Martinne Geller in New York)

(Reporting by Jessica Hall; Editing by Diane Craft) (For more M&A news and our DealZone blog, go to here)

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