So, Pepsi swears that they’re trying to sell us healthier options but we keep buying Cheetos and chips. To preface, PepsiCo is not just a sugary drink brand, even if the name makes you automatically think otherwise. In addition to soda, tea, and Gatorade, the company also owns the Frito-Lay, Quaker, and Tostito snacking companies.
Now, The Wall Street Journal reports that the company is really trying to cut back on the chips in favor of lighter options, but consumers just aren’t having it. Good for them!
Pepsi seems to be caught in a riptide of the growing health craze and the stable, incredible but fried, comfort snacks we’ve all grown to know and love. The company’s recent showings at a trade show in Atlanta made crystal clear the two directions the company is being pulled in at once, according to WSJ. On the one hand, offerings from Quaker oatmeal, Naked juice, and Sabra hummus. On the other: the real money-makers like Doritos and Cheetos.
The Consumerist states that PepsiCo has been making gestures in the direction of less sugar and more health for ages, from setting up “healthy” option-only vending machines to cutting added sugar in drinks and even attempting to launch organic Gatorade. It’s even created “designer salt” that the company believes can provide the same amount of flavor with less sodium and waste. However, all these gestures, by and large, are not exactly making the company bank.
Still, the WSJ points out, after years of flagging, PepsiCo sales and stock are back up — but that’s largely thanks to the “traditional” fat, salt, and carb vectors everyone loves to pretend they don’t love, chips.
With Lay’s, Doritos, Cheetos, and Ruffles under its belt, PepsiCo owns four of the largest five savory snack brands. (The last one, Pringles, is owned by Kellogg.) And global sales of the top three — Lay’s, Doritos, and Cheetos — are up more than 5% in each of the last five years, according to the WSJ.
Frito-Lay’s North American snacks unit generated 52% of PepsiCo’s profit last year. In short: you may say that you’re switching to kale chips, swearing off salt, and staying away from the junk food — but the numbers tell a very different story.
Let’s be serious, though, after reading that WSJ article and crafting this one, I’m really in the mood for cheetos. Pepsi, you’re doing something right.