In a fallout of the changing environment in food regulations, Frito Lay India, the snack foods subsidiary of PepsiCo Inc., has for the first time decided to label all its products with ‘nutrition facts’. Nutrition labelling is currently not mandatory in India under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (PFA).
Confirming this, Frito Lay India managing director Manu Anand said the company was taking a proactive move in this direction, even though the law does not require it. “In 6-8 months, we will print all the nutritional information including fat content on our products,” Mr Anand told FE.
Last month, the Delhi government issued a notification to public schools to keep junk food out of canteens. Early last year, the government—after the alleged pesticides in soft drinks controversy broke—had asked schools not to stock aerated drinks.
Taking the cue, Frito Lay, apart from introducing labelling norms, has now decided to launch baked and low fat brands from its global portfolio. On the anvil, for instance, is the launch of Cheeto’s Baked, positioned specifically for children, and launched by the parent company recently.
“We plan to launch more baked products, and products with low fat content in future,” Mr Anand said.
A few months ago, the company had also introduced a low-fat, low-calorie range called the ‘light’ line of Lay’s potato chips in the country. According to Mr Anand, the range is doing reasonably well.
“Our strategy is to offer information to help consumers make choices,” Mr Anand reasoned. According to him, consumption of salty snacks per person in India is only 300 gm. The low-fat range, Mr Anand said, accounted for only 5% of Frito Lay’s portfolio.
Frito Lay’s voluntary decision to put a health advisory comes close on the heels of the move by PepsiCo and Coca-Cola to provide nutritional information on their product packaging beginning 2005. The Indian subsidiaries have commenced work on this.
Since last year, Frito Lay, in the wake of the US Food & Drug Administration’s mandate regarding trans-fat content on packaging, made significant changes to its products and packaging. Apart from providing nutritional information including ‘trans-fat content’ on its core brands, the company has introduced a number of low-fat and low calorie snacks including Baked Lay’s potato crisps, Baked Doritos tortilla chips, Ruffles reduced fat potato chips and others.