Frito-Lay North America to Add Healthier Snacks

NEW YORK - Frito-Lay North America said on Tuesday it will use a healthier cooking oil in its Doritos, Tostitos and Cheetos snacks and introduce reduced-fat versions of some snacks amid mounting concerns over Americans' diet, Reuters reports.

The company, which is the largest unit of Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo Inc., said that in early 2003 it will eliminate hydrogenated oils and convert to trans fat-free corn oil in Doritos, Tostitos and Cheetos. In addition, it will launch Lay's Reduced Fat chips and Cheetos Reduced Fat snacks in the near future.

"These changes that we're making will make our overall portfolio much, much healthier," Al Bru, president and CEO of Frito-Lay North America, told Reuters.

The reduced-fat Lay's and Cheetos will be sold at a premium of about 5 percent to 10 percent above regular versions of the snacks, Bru said.

Frito-Lay also said it is working with Dr. Kenneth Cooper's Cooper Aerobics Center and others to develop a youth fitness program to be launched in 2003. Also, starting early next year, Frito-Lay will feature fitness and nutrition tips from Cooper on its snack packages. PepsiCo partnered with Cooper, a health and aerobics expert, earlier this year to promote a fit lifestyle.

McDonald's Corp. said in early September that it would cook its popular french fries in an oil that reduces the type of fat linked to heart disease.

The timing of the announcement is coincidental, Frito-Lay said. Frito-Lay has been working on its changes for almost a year, said Rocco Papalia, senior VP of technology.

Frito-Lay already has lighter products on the market, such as Baked Lay's potato crisps and Baked Tostitos tortilla chips. Lay's and Ruffles chips from Frito-Lay have been prepared in trans fat-free oils for years, and chips sold outside the United States are already made with trans-fat free oils, the company said.
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