Why it matters
Around the world, consumers enjoy PepsiCo products more than one billion times a day. With that global scale comes an opportunity to provide our consumers with products that are nutritious and enjoyable. Our move toward building a portfolio of more nutritious options is in line with the direction of consumers towards a healthier lifestyle, a movement that shows no signs of slowing. This presents promising growth potential for PepsiCo.
To the World:
Ensuring the population is able to choose products for a healthy, balanced diet is a challenge in both the least and most developed countries. While many of our products are not intended to be core elements of the daily diet, we recognize that consumer are also seeking healthier options for their snack and beverage consumption.
To help build a more sustainable food system and become pep+ (PepsiCo Positive), we are making it easier for consumers to choose foods and beverages that prioritize nutrition and the planet. In nutrition, working towards our pep+ ambitions means improving the nutritional profile of our products, working to provide simple, clear information on our packaging, rethinking packaging sizes and leveraging the scale of our brands to drive positive change.
Our product sustainability goals are to reduce added sugars in our beverages and reduce sodium and saturated fats in our convenient foods portfolio so that people can continue to enjoy our most-loved brands as part of a healthy and balanced diet. By 2025, our goals are that:
- ≥ 67% of beverage portfolio volume will not exceed 100 Calories from added sugars per 12 ounce serving;
- ≥ 75% of foods portfolio volume will not exceed 1.3 milligrams of sodium per Calorie
- ≥ 75% of foods portfolio volume will not exceed 1.1 grams of saturated fat per 100 Calories
In addition, we are working to increase access to nutritious foods in the communities where we live and operate, and promote food security in at-risk regions. By 2030, our goal is to:
- Partner with communities to advance food security and make nutritious food accessible to 50 million people1
We expect to achieve this goal through a combination of philanthropic and commercial initiatives. In order for commercial products to count towards the goal, they must:
- Meet our internal Global Nutrition Criteria for Affordable Nutrition Initiatives, which includes maximum thresholds for nutrients to limit (added sugars, sodium, saturated fatty acids, and trans fat); minimum micronutrient levels to help combat hidden hunger; and food groups and nutrients to encourage such as whole grains and fiber; and
- Be accessible to lower-income consumers at risk of poor nutrition. We determine this at the market level informed by local socioeconomic indicators and externally available data.
For example, Quaker 3 Minutos provides lower-income consumers in Mexico value for their money without compromising nutrition. Offered at an affordable price point, the product is fortified with vitamins and minerals including shortfall nutrients in the country.
PepsiCo is continuously innovating and expanding its portfolio to make products that provide nutritional benefits. While we are improving the nutritional profile of many of our products by reducing added sugars, sodium and saturated fat, we are also investing in innovation to deliver important food groups and nutrients that contribute to a healthy diet – accelerating a journey we began before the turn of the 21st century. The 2021 launch of our pep+ ambition marks an important milestone on this journey to offer consumers Positive Choices in nutrition.
Over the years, we have enhanced our portfolio through a combination of reformulation, new product innovation and the acquisition of new brands:
- Through reformulations, we improve the nutritional profile of many of our products by reducing added sugars, sodium, and saturated fat.
- Product innovations help to further bolster our portfolio, meeting local consumer tastes and preferences while providing consumers with the nutrition they are looking for.
- Through acquisitions, we have added a number of the world’s most trusted and loved positive nutrition brands to our business.
We believe that we have an opportunity to positively influence the diets of people around the world through the delivery of great tasting products that also deliver important nutrients and food groups. With a global rise in urban living and “on-the-go” eating habits, consumers are demanding products that are at once nutritious, convenient, great tasting, and are trusted from quality and food safety perspectives. Developing and delivering products that deliver these attributes is a priority for PepsiCo.
Learn more about our approach to Nutrition Governance.
PepsiCo Nutrition Criteria
To help provide nutrition guidance during the development of our beverages and foods, and diversify our product portfolio in the process, we deploy the PepsiCo Nutrition Criteria (PNC). These science-based criteria are based on recommendations for food and nutrient intake from leading global and national nutrition authorities including the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Academy of Medicine, and national public health authorities.
The PNC set standards for nutrients to limit as well as nutrients and food groups to encourage that are based on the latest science and country specific dietary guidelines.
- Nutrients to Limit are nutrients that have been well-established as dietary factors that can contribute to the risk of certain non-communicable diseases, when consumed in excess. They include: saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and added sugars.
- Nutrients to Encourage are nutrients that have been identified as being commonly under-consumed in the population. They are sometimes called “shortfall nutrients.” They typically include: fiber, specific vitamins and/or minerals such as iron, vitamin A and calcium.
- Food Groups to Encourage are food groups that have been well-established as contributing to well-balanced diets. They include: fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, among others.
These standards are used by our product development teams both to reformulate existing products by improving their nutritional profile, and to guide the development of new product innovation. To apply the PNC in a relevant way to our portfolio, we have a tiered set of specific criteria for 20 food and beverage categories. Products are evaluated based on their nutrient profile as well as how they are consumed within the diet to determine which criteria should apply.
With consumers around the world moving toward more nutritious options, we believe that our portfolio of nutritious options is vital to the strength of our business. Our portfolio includes products with food groups like grains, fruits and vegetables and those that deliver fiber and/or protein, plus those that are complementary, like water and unsweetened tea, which support hydration without adding calories or nutrients to limit. As we strive to offer consumers more Positive Choices, we will purposely incorporate more diverse ingredients in both new and existing products that are better for the planet and deliver nutritional benefits. We are prioritizing chickpeas, plant-based proteins and whole grains, and expanding our position in the nuts and seeds category.
Meeting Societal Nutritional Needs
In markets all over the world, we work to create products that are suited to local needs in terms of both taste and nutrition, with brands that consumers trust. For example, our 2020 acquisition of Pioneer Foods in South Africa brought together two like-minded companies focused on building a more sustainable future and investing in communities. Pioneer Foods’ locally relevant product portfolio is a strong complement to our current product line in the region, with strong positions in cereals, juices, and other nutritional food staples, including well-known brands like Weet-Bix, Liqui-Fruit, Ceres, Sasko, Safari, Spekko, and White Star.
Meeting Nutritional Needs through the PepsiCo Foundation
The PepsiCo Foundation is another vehicle for providing nutritious food to the underserved. Through grants to, and collaborative partnerships with, selected nonprofit organizations, the PepsiCo Foundation and its partners provide nutritious food to communities across the globe.
The U.N. estimates that nearly 9% of the world's population suffers from hunger. Often, this is not a problem of food scarcity, but rather one of logistics. Food for Good, our signature nutrition operation, was created more than a decade ago by a group of enterprising employees who wanted to leverage the logistical know-how and technical expertise of PepsiCo—one of the world’s largest convenient food and beverage companies—to help get nutritious food to those in need. For more information about the Food for Good program, see our website.
In 2021, consumers enjoyed approximately 7 million tons of PepsiCo convenient food in our top 23 markets (accounting for 86% of food sales volume). They enjoyed approximately 650 million hectoliters of our beverage products in our top 26 markets (accounting for 79% of beverage sales volume).
Through a combination of product renovations, innovations and acquisitions, PepsiCo continues to pursue its goal of positive nutrition. In 2021:
- 53% of our beverage portfolio sales volume in our Top 26 beverage markets did not exceed 100 Calories from added sugars per 12-ounce serving;
- 66% of our convenient foods portfolio sales volume in our Top 23 beverage markets did not exceed 1.3 mg of sodium per Calorie; and
- 75% of our convenient foods portfolio sales volume in our Top 23 beverage markets did not exceed 1.1g of saturated fat per 100 Calories.
Progress and Challenges
As we expand our healthier choices, we have made progress but faced challenges along the way.
We remain focused on meeting consumer needs for taste, enjoyment, health and wellness. To this end, we are renovating our core products and innovating to deliver more choices and to address nutrient and food groups.
The double burden of obesity and under-nutrition continues to pose challenges for effective nutrition intervention on a global basis. The emergence of COVID-19 has re-emphasized the importance of overall good health in the body's ability to both resist and cope with infectious disease. Our continued focus on responding to public health challenges with improved nutrition choices will enable consumers to better choose a healthy diet.
While pursuing our product goals, we have been confronted by another significant nutrition challenge in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has reduced access to food and other essential goods for many communities. In response, PepsiCo has invested more than $71 million globally and catalyzed an additional $59 million in funding from others to bring food and other vital resources to the most affected communities. As part of this effort, the company and our partners have distributed more than 145 million nutritious meals to at-risk populations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly impacted the way we do business, and has resulted in similar or possibly more intense focus on public health and its relation to nutrition. Accordingly, PepsiCo anticipates that efforts will continue unabated within the food industry to improve the nutritional quality of products and provide more Positive Choices for consumers.