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Pepsi Aims To Greatly Reduce Sugar In Its Drinks

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PepsiCo announced that it will start reducing the amount of sugar in its soft drinks all over the world, as part of the company’s goals to address a range of problems from obesity to climate change.

The soda giant has drawn up a plan that by 2025, at least two-thirds of its products will contain 100 calories or fewer per 12 ounces from added sugar. It also aims to lower sodium and saturated fat in its other products. PepsiCo and rival company Coca-Cola have faced mounting pressure from health experts and governments who point to their products as a driver for obesity and diabetes, Fortune reports.

PepsiCo intends to implement their plan by bringing in more zero- and low-calorie drinks, and revising their current formulas. Its new global target is much more ambitious than previous numbers that aimed to reduce sugar by 25% in some of its products by 2020.

Mehmood Khan, the company’s Chief Scientific Officer of Research and Development, says,

The science has evolved. It’s not just about sweeteners, it’s about understanding the flavor ingredients and having proprietary knowledge and access to them.

The world Health Organization recommended increasing taxes on sugary drinks this month in order to decrease consumption and improve public health. France and Mexico have done so, and some states are considering doing the same.

Pepsi soft drinks only account for 12% of PepsiCo’s $63 billion annual revenue. The rest comes from other labels such as Mountain Dew, Tropicana, snacks and dips.

CocaCola, for its part, stated that it will offer zero- and low-calorie options in every market in the world by 2020, as part of its ongoing sustainability plan.

Khan says that PepsiCo’s goals include not just nutritional, but environmental and social improvements, as well. According to him, the company has saved $600 million over the past five years in reduced water, packaging and energy. They have also seen a reduction in waste. In the past 10 years, average returns on investments have been good, Khan adds. He expects the trend to continue, which investors who don’t decide based on sustainability might welcome.

Other PepsiCo targets include a 15% increase in water efficiency across the company’s agricultural supply chain by 2025, and a 20% cut on greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

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