Mexico and Brazil, Pepsico’s key in research and development

Pepsico, which has brands such as Sabritas and Quaker, has the goal of reducing fats, sugars and sodium in its products around the world, including the Latin American region, for which the company relies on its innovation and development centers in Mexico and Brazil.

“We have a continuous job of expanding our portfolio through the different innovation centers in Latin America, either Apodaca or Sao Paulo … These are fundamental centers, without them we would not get anywhere,” said Ricardo Pimenta, vice president of Nutrition of PepsiCo Latin America, in an interview.

In 2014, the company opened the Innovation Center for the Baked Products Category in Apodaca, Nuevo León, to collaborate on company projects around the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand.

“The main challenge is to reconcile this expansion of the portfolio in more nutritional spaces, giving the taste that the consumer likes, behind that is a constant investment in research and development,” said Pimenta.

For the global business, Pepsico seeks that at least three quarters of the volume of its food portfolio have less than 1.3 milligrams of sodium per kilocalorie and not exceed 1.1 grams of saturated fat per 100 kilocalories by 2025.

For the beverage segment, the company aims for two-thirds of its global portfolio to have 100 calories or less of added sugars per 12-ounce serving. Currently, 58% of the products in this category have a maximum of 100 calories.

In Mexico, the company reduced sodium and also decreased the content of saturated fats in Cheetos by 65%, at the time it removed salt from the Flamin Hot platforms, which includes the Doritos brands (23.48%), Tostitos (2.89%) and Sabritas (12.18%) in that category.

Similarly, the company launched the Mirinda soft drink with less than 100 kcal in six markets, including Argentina, Guatemala and Mexico.

“There is a growing interest and concern for foods that are more natural and that allow better nutrition,” added Pimenta.

The company invested around US $47 million in the inauguration of these innovation centers, of which US $22 million were allocated to the opening in Nuevo Leon and US $25 million for the one in Brazil.

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