I’m with several of my PepsiCo colleagues at wintry Davos this week where the forum’s founder says he has never seen so much snow here in the event’s 42 years. Many conversations are predictably about the economic troubles in Europe and the influence of Asia – but my colleagues and I are particularly engaged in agriculture discussions this year. Read more

PepsiCo’s Derek Yach recently spoke with USAID about our unique, trilateral partnership with USAID and the United Nations World Food Program that was announced at the Clinton Global Initiative’s 2011 annual meeting in New York in September. A key achievement of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative, this partnership will help build long-term economic stability for smallholder chickpea farmers in Ethiopia by involving them directly in PepsiCo’s product supply chain. In the interview, Derek explains Enterprise EthioPEA, “PepsiCo hopes to use chickpeas to address famine and malnourishment in the Horn of Africa, stimulate economic development in Ethiopia, and support PepsiCo’s business strategy for Africa more generally. Today, PepsiCo is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of chickpea-based hummus, a product that is experiencing rapid growth in demand. Chickpeas will play an important role in growing PepsiCo’s nutrition business to $30 billion in revenue by 2020. This is... Read more

Last Monday, PepsiCo’s Global Health and Agriculture Policy (GHAP) team hosted a breakfast event at the UN to highlight the important role of agriculture in health and nutrition efforts. Along with our co-hosts, the United Nations Foundation and Business Council for the UN, we were pleased to provide a platform for the release of a new report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, “Bringing Agriculture to the Table.” We were joined by a panel of distinguished speakers, each of whom shared important perspectives on the intersection of agriculture, food and health. Patrick Kelley, director of the Board on Global Health for the Institute of Medicine, moderated the event. Marshall Bouton, president of the Chicago Council, gave opening remarks. Rachel Nugent, the report’s author, walked the audience through the recommendations and findings. Of note were her comments on the use of a “value chain” to identify social,... Read more

Each year, millions of people are told to change the way they eat for better health. Why?  The bulk of medical spending is tied to lifestyle diseases, like heart disease, all of which are said to be preventable — if we just took better care of ourselves. I have been studying and observing people’s relationship with food for the past twenty years. We all generally accept the fact that what we eat and how we live affect our body and our health.  DON’T WE?!  So now I am more intrigued with another very important question — how can we create a society that’s addicted to health. The current conversation around nutrition isn’t very inspiring.  It’s no wonder (1) Experts rarely agree on nutrition science; (2) Media bombards us with conflicting reports; (3) Most doctors don’t have the time to talk about it.  Most of what we hear... Read more

Derek Yach recently moderated several sessions at the 2011 World Forum On Enterprise and Environment in Oxford, England. He noted a main agreement by attendees was a critical need for health professionals and food companies to consider how we build better links to biodiversity through promoting more diverse diets and the use of ingredients drawn from diverse eco-zones. To learn more about the event, please see this video of Derek from the forum. Read more

The Chicago Tribune recently profiled Mehmood Khan. In the article Mehmood said, among other things, that a healthy lifestyle, “is all about balance.” That means there are no “bad” foods, but some of them you just shouldn’t eat all of the time. Go to the article for the full story. Read more

Earlier this month, Mehmood Khan spoke with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about research into new salt, beverage sweeteners, bottles made from orange peels, compostable chip bags and “drinkable oats.” Mehmood ended the interview by saying, “You learn, you continue
 to improve, you stay ahead.” Read the whole interview to find out more. Read more

I recently attended the World Health Assembly, the annual meeting of the decision making body of WHO. I went as part of the Global Health Council delegation, along with a team from PepsiCo.  Non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention and control was a main topic this year in the lead up to a High Level meeting to be held at the UN in September 2011 on NCDs, specifically cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and cancer. The High Level Meeting is the chance to put NCDs on the global agenda and secure commitments from governments, and NCD advocates. We hope that this meeting will result in similarly strong outcomes as seen in the 2001 UNAIDS meeting. The World Health Assembly discussion focused on the need for a multisectoral approach to NCD solutions.  As providers of food, medicines, medical technologies, sporting equipment and more, the private sector has the... Read more

Last week, the New Yorker profiled PepsiCo. The author, John Seabrook met with several of the bloggers you may know from Food Frontiers: Mehmood Khan, Derek Yach, Greg Yep, Jonathan McIntyre, and George Mensah. There is also an accompanying podcast with the author. The article touches on a variety of PepsiCo’s innovations and R&D capabilities, including sodium. “What we discovered is that people actually taste only about twenty to twenty-five per cent of the salt we put on our chips. They swallow the rest of it without tasting it,” says Mehmood Khan in       the article. But, as the article says, reducing the amount of salt changed what flavorists call “the taste curve”—the sudden spike of saltiness on the tongue, followed by a tingling around the sides of the        mouth. So Mehmood asked, “was there a different kind of salt crystal that would produce the... Read more

We’ve talked a lot about sodium here on Food Frontiers. Last week, a reporter from NPR’s Marketplace came to PepsiCo and met with Mehmood Khan and Greg Yep and tried some of our chips that use Crystal Salt. Check out the full report and audio link to the segment and let us know what you think! Read more