Snack food maker, Frito-Lay is investing in making its products healthier in order to appeal to health- focused consumers. The manufacturer of over 3,000 chip flavors worldwide identified a need to improve their products by reducing sodium content and adding good-for-you ingredients.
The product development team at PepsiCo, parent company of Frito-Lay, is focusing on reinventing their snacks to have healthier qualities. The company is committing to limiting sodium and saturated fat while adding whole grains, vegetables and protein to products.
“We’re really looking to not only decrease the negatives but also increase the positives and transform our portfolio in a positive direction,” said Elizabeth Roark, Registered Dietitian and Principal Scientist at PepsiCo Nutrition Services.
In PepsiCo’s Performance with Purpose 2015 Agenda, published last year, the company highlighted its nutrition goals. One initiative is to decrease sodium content in food products to 1.3 mg or less per calorie and 1.1 grams of fat or less per 100 calories.
Their increased focus on healthy snacks led to products like Smartfood Delight Popcorn with 35 calories per cup, Simply Tostitos Black Bean tortilla chips with five grams of fibre and four grams of protein per serving, and Sun Chips Veggie Harvest chips made with vegetables. Frito-Lay has also introduced lightly salted chips that contain 50 percent less sodium than the original varieties.
“As an R.&D. leader, I’m so happy and delighted with the progress we are making on our snacks portfolio, particularly with regards to sodium,” said Christine J. Cioffe, Ph.D., Senior VP of Sustainability and Global Snacks R.&D. at PepsiCo said.
“We do recognize sodium is a concern for consumers; many consumers are looking to limit sodium intake in their diets on a daily basis, but we also recognize we have some really iconic snacking products that are phenomenal in their taste and the eating experience.”
This year, Americans were introduced to Lays flavors like Crispy Taco, Everything Bagel with Cream Cheese and Fried Green Tomato. These introductory flavors are here for a limited time as part of the company’s “Do Us a Flavor” campaign. Since its debut in 2012, the campaign became has become so successful that the company has expanded to additional markets.
By expanding their product varieties into healthier options, the company is able to catch the attention of health-focused consumers as well as consumers who are interested in trying new products. The company recently introduced a line of vegetable and legume based chips under their new “Off The Eaten Path” brand.
“We are really pursuing things that are moving from on-trend to mainstream expectations. Think about all of the innovation within plant-based ingredients,” said Cioffe.
“In our Off the Eaten Path portfolio … the first ingredient is a legume. It might be a bean; it might be a pea. It might be a pulse, a chickpea, for example. What we’re trying to do is create light and airy snacks that appeal to a consumer that may be looking for a bit more creativity, might be looking for those legume or pulse ingredients. In those snacks we are developing from the onset a lower saturated fat and lower sodium profile so we’re compliant with our P.W.P. 2025 goals.”