Saturated fatty acids, which are fat molecules that have straight chains of fatty acids and no double bonds, occur naturally in many foods. While the main dietary sources are meat and dairy products, all fats and oils in the diet will contain a mixture of fatty acids including a proportion of saturated fatty acids. The current World Health Organization (WHO) dietary guidelines recommend that no more than 10 percent of total dietary energy intake be derived from saturated fat. For an average adult consuming 2000 kcal per day, this equates to a maximum of approximately 20g of saturated fat per day, or approximately 1.1 grams of saturated fat per 100 Calories.
Informed by these international guidelines and those of national health authorities, we have set a goal designed to help consumers reduce the amount of saturated fat in their diets. Our goal is that by 2025, at least three quarters of our global foods portfolio sales volume will not exceed 1.1 grams of saturated fat per 100 Calories. Our goal is designed to shift a significant portion of our food portfolio towards lower saturated fat levels to make it easier for our consumers to follow WHO’s recommendation.
Our approach to managing saturated fat within our foods portfolio is guided by PepsiCo’s Nutrition Criteria. These science-based category-specific criteria are based on recommendations for food and nutrient intake from leading global and national nutrition authorities including the WHO, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Academy of Medicine, and national public health authorities. For more on these criteria, click here.
To better meet both consumer needs and policy and regulatory requirements, we are applying saturated fat reduction and reformulation strategies to our foods portfolio.
We are continually exploring different oils to enable us to reduce the level of saturated fat, while also allowing us to maintain our products’ great taste without compromising our product quality.
In addition to reformulation of existing products, we are also introducing new products with less saturated fat to support our delivery against our global goal.
By the end of 2020, 71 percent of our foods sales volume in our Top 23 markets (representing 88 percent of our global foods sales volume) was in line with our goal of saturated fat levels that do not exceed 1.1g/100 Calories, up from 62 percent in 2019.
PepsiCo’s 2020 acquisition of Pioneer Foods brought approximately 15 new food brands into the PepsiCo portfolio. In doing so, progress against our product goals was impacted – for saturated fat, this had the effect of positively contributing to our progress.
In recent years, our Cheetos brand in Mexico has introduced canola into the oil blend, reducing saturated fat by 65 percent compared to previous blends. Mexico has continued this journey to further improve the nutritional profile of products, introducing the canola oil blend across iconic savory brands like Doritos, Sabritas, Ruffles, Fritos and other local brands during 2020, reducing Saturated Fat by over 60 percent versus previous formulas. Significant reductions in saturated fat were also achieved in our cookies and crackers brands across Mexico and Brazil in line with our global goal to reach saturated fat levels that do not exceed 1.1g/100 Calories.
We have also formed an agreement with Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), an organization that works with the private sector to help improve the health of youth in the United States by addressing childhood obesity, to conduct an independent review of our progress against our saturated fat goal. The first year of this review was conducted in relation to 2016 data. In the most recent 2019 progress report, covering then current SKU level data of products in our Top 23 global markets, PHA confirmed the accuracy of our calculations and the reliability of the methodology we use to make those calculations. Further detail about the review is published within PHA’s annual report. We plan to continue conducting independent reviews of the data and methodology, in order to continue to drive transparency around this important goal.
While the COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly impact the way we do business, it likely will result in similar or possibly more intense focus on nutritional issues, including as it relates to saturated fat. Accordingly, PepsiCo anticipates that efforts will continue unabated within the food industry to improve the nutritional quality of products and hence the diets of consumers.