PepsiCo has announced new sugar reduction targets after it revealed the amount of added sugar in its products has increased.
The firm said that in eight out of 10 countries it had tracked the average amount of sugar in drinks had dropped against a 2006 baseline, but overall added sugars had increased by 4%.
"Although progess was made, in key countries we increased the average amount of added sugars per serving in our total beverage portfolio by 4%," said the company in a report. "We continue to invest in research and development to reduce added sugars and we believe these efforts could yield significant progress."
The announcement comes after the UK government said it would implement a sugar tax on soft drinks. It has also asked food companies to reduce the amount of sugar in products eaten mostly by children by a fifth.
PepsiCo’s move on sugar was outlined in its Performance with Purpose 2025 Agenda.
In the report, the firm said it would “work to help [its] consumers reduce the amount of added sugar in their diets” by reformulating soft drinks to make new low and no-calorie drinks, launching smaller pack sizes for full-sugar drinks and increasing its promotion of lower-calorie options.
PepsiCo said it would also reduce the fat in its products by using oils with lower saturated fats, including as sunflower and canola, using new cooking methods to reduce fat, and reducing salt by creating new recipes and ways to season food.
It said it had already reduced average saturated fat per serving by 3% and average sodium per serving by 12% against a 2006 baseline.
Indra Nooyi, CEO and chairman of PepsiCo said the 2025 Agenda was “designed to build on our progress and broaden our efforts”.
“To succeed in today's volatile and changing world, corporations must do three things exceedingly well: focus on delivering strong financial performance, do it in a way that is sustainable over time and be responsive to the needs of society,” she said.
PepsiCo has set itself targets by 2025 for added sugar to contribute at most 100 calories per 12oz (350ml) in two thirds of its global drink products.
In its March budged the UK government announced it would tax soft drinks, excluding milk and fruit juice, with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml from in April 2018.
PepsiCo's report also said three quarters of its food portfolio would not exceed 1.1g of saturated fat per 100 calories or 1.3mg of sodium per calorie.
As well as taking out salt, fat and sugar, PepsiCo said it would “increase positive nutrition” including whole grains, fruits and vegetables by expanding its portfolio of foods containing these ingredients. It said it would provide 3bn servings of nutritious food to “underserved communities and consumers”.
PepsiCo's 2025 Agenda also covers other sustainability issues including greenhouse gas emissions, water useage, providing education for women, reducing direct landfill waste and expanding sustainable farming initiatives.
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