PepsiCo was part of an exciting announcement this week – we became the first private sector company to participate in one of the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) regional trust funds for development activities.
The IDB is the largest multilateral provider of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean, and we hope that our five-year partnership will spur social and economic growth in 26 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean.
The inaugural agriculture project of the partnership will significantly expand commercial sunflower crop production in Mexico and create a sustainable market for sunflower production. For PepsiCo, the sunflower crop will provide a source of heart-healthy high-oleic sunflower oil (HOSO) for cooking many PepsiCo products produced in Mexico under the Sabritas and Gamesa-Quaker brands.
Currently the demand of HOSO is increasing because of its heart-healthy properties. This agreement will help to support the supply of healthy local oil and develop competitive local production of sunflower oil in Mexico.
Increasing the availability of HOSO for PepsiCo’s use is important for a variety of nutritional reasons. Products cooked in sunflower oil are lower in saturated fats – HOSO contains 7 percent saturated fats – that is half the amount found in many other commonly used oils.
HOSO is regarded as healthy oil because of its high content (80 percent) of monounsaturated fatty acids and its low content of saturated fat. The substitution of oils high in monounsaturated fats for oils high in saturated fats in a diet leads to a reduction of total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein cholesterol without reducing high density lipoprotein cholesterol. Diets with high monounsaturated fatty acid content have also been found to reduce both plasma cholesterol and triglycerides, thereby reducing the risk for cardiovascular diseases. A scientific study, conducted by Pennsylvania State University and published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, showed that mid-oleic sunflower oil (60% monounsatured fat) is a good option to reduce the risk of heart diseases and lower cholesterol levels.
Scaling-up the production of the high oleic sunflower crop in Mexico will help PepsiCo bring Mexican consumers more snacks made with HOSO and serve as an example of how we can work together to benefit the local community and our business.