Pepsi takes healthy alternative position

FMCG giant to promote no-sugar carbonated drinks and low-fat savoury snacks.

Gary Lineker
Health kick: Gary Lineker

PepsiCo UK is to throw its advertising weight behind its “healthier” brands such as Pepsi Raw, Pepsi Max, Tropicana and Walkers Baked.

The move comes as part of a wide-ranging set of commitments to move the food and drinks company firmly into the health space. These include a pledge to make 50% of its savoury snacks baked or include “positive nutrition” by 2015.

More above-the-line campaigns like the recent one for Walkers Baked crisps are also planned, according to a spokeswoman.
The moratorium on advertising regular Pepsi will continue, with the no-sugar alternatives like Pepsi Max and Diet Pepsi the focal points of any marketing.

PepsiCo UK and Ireland president Richard Evans says in 2009 Pepsi Max sales rose 20%, setting the company on its way towards the target for 65% of sales of carbonated drinks to be sugar-free variants by 2015.

Evans says: “All the targets are real and achievable, but none of them will be easy.

“Making real progress on health will require consumers coming with us. That will mean reformulating some products, introducing a portion cap on others, creating new snacks and encouraging consumers towards healthier alternatives.”

Marketing experts suggest this isn’t a major shift for PepsiCo given what has been achieved already, such as reducing saturated fats in Walkers crisps by 80%. However, the hurdle will be convincing consumers that some of the brands do have a healthier glow.

“They have a huge task ahead of them in taking consumers through this journey, largely because the categories in which some of their brands operate are perceived as unhealthy,” says Michael Benson, consultant at global brand agency The Brand Union.

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