PepsiCo gets aggressive on cutting sugar in drinks, levels of saturated fats and sodium in snacks

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

(CNNMoney) — Pepsi says it’s getting serious about cutting sugar from its drinks.

The global food giant said on Monday that two-thirds of its single serving drinks will have 100 or fewer calories by 2025 as it cuts back on sugar. Currently, less than 40 percent of its drinks have 100 calories or fewer.

PepsiCo — which also owns brands including Gatorade and Tropicana — said the change was driven by shifting consumer needs and new dietary guidelines from the World Health Organization.

Many customers have tapered their intake of high-sugar, high-calorie soft drinks from Pepsi and Coca-Cola due to worries about sugar consumption. But at the same time, diet beverages have also been falling out of favor as consumers worry about chemicals in their drinks.

Both Pepsi and Coke have been trying to adapt to changing consumer tastes.

Pepsi announced last year it would stop using the artificial sweetener aspartame due to declining sales and health concerns. Scientific studies have linked artificial sweeteners to obesity and diabetes.

But PepsiCo reintroduced aspartame to some products in September, saying consumers wanted more choices.

Nearly half of PepsiCo’s $63 billion in revenue came from beverage sales in 2015.

Along with its commitment to cut calories in its sugary drinks over the next decade, Pepsi also said it would reduce levels of saturated fat and sodium in the majority of its products.

Pepsi’s Frito-Lay division, which includes the namesake Fritos and Lay’s brand chips, also sells Doritos and Cheetos.

“The company will continue to refine its food and beverage choices to meet changing consumer needs by reducing added sugars, saturated fat and sodium levels in its product portfolio,” Pepsi said in a statement.

PepsiCo’s plan to make its products healthier comes as the firm promises new sustainability targets that will see it reduce its greenhouse gases and improve its water efficiency.

The company specifically said it plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2030.

PepsiCo has saved hundreds of millions of dollars since 2010 through water, energy and waste-reduction programs.

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