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Pepsi Unveils Additional Plans For Nutrition Initiatives

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DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) unveiled more details of its plans to improve the nutritional quality of its products, as consumers and nutritional advocates step up their calls for healthier eating and lifestyles.

The company, whose brands include Frito-Lay snacks and Quaker cereals, said it is committed to reducing average sodium per serving by 25% by 2015 and saturated fat and added sugar by 15% and 25%, respectively, this decade.

Pepsi also said it aims to increase the whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and nonfat dairy in its product portfolio.

Initiatives include its experimentation with new "designer" salt crystals shaped and sized to reduce the amount of sodium ingested, to cut sodium levels by 25% in its Lay's Classic potato chips and other products.

Last week Pepsi agreed to end the direct sale of full-sugar beverages to primary and secondary schools by 2012 in the face of public concerns about childhood obesity.

The issue has come to the fore as First Lady Michelle Obama has made combating childhood obesity one of her priorities and Congress considers regulating the drinks allowed in U.S. school vending machines.

The beverage industry, including Pepsi, in February unveiled plans to display calorie content more prominently, moving them to the front of containers by the end of 2012, also part of the wider initiative pushed by the First Lady.

Pepsi shares closed Friday at $66.56 and were inactive premarket. The stock is up 9.5% this year and has risen by about a third in the past 12 months--trailing the broader market.

 

-By Tess Stynes, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2481; Tess.Stynes@dowjones.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 22, 2010 08:08 ET (12:08 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2010 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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