Derek Yach, PepsiCo’s Senior Vice President, Global Health Policy, is featured on the Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog in a post called, “Are Public-Private Partnerships the Way to Cut Dietary Sodium?” In the post, Derek says sodium reduction is the nutrition-related public-health goal that “lends itself most readily to intervention.” He also says that public-private partnerships have “unparalleled potential” in this area and are the best way to tackle sodium reduction and other public health challenges. Read the complete post at the Wall Street Journal and leave a comment to let us know what you think. Read more

Did you know that September is Whole Grain Month? At PepsiCo we are committed to increasing whole grains in our global product portfolio. For more on this topic, I talked to Frito-Lay's Director of Nutrition, Bob Brown, who was chairman of the Whole Grain Council in its second year of existence. Bob supports the U.S. Dietary Guidelines that call for more whole grains and told me that he doesn't understand why anyone would eat a sandwich with white bread. Read more

Last week, at the annual United Nation’s summit, the focus was on accelerating progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). PepsiCo supports the MDGs, particularly the first goal which addresses poverty and hunger, through our nutrition programs, investments in education, research on sustainable agriculture and partnerships with leading global health organizations. Global under-nutrition is a complex problem. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that today more than one billion people are undernourished. Malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies have widespread and devastating consequences, particularly in developing countries. A group of leading economists, as part of the Copenhagen Consensus has ranked providing micronutrients as one of the best opportunities for reducing malnutrition. The World Bank states in their business call to action that, “micronutrient deficiency is a hidden epidemic that leads to low birth weight, impaired cognitive development, impaired immunity, reduced earning potential and compromised... Read more

The World Health Organization (WHO) cites low intake of fruits and vegetables as one of the top risk factors contributing to mortality from non-communicable diseases, hunger and micronutrient deficiencies. Researchers examining fruit and vegetable intake globally have found that populations are consuming less than half of the recommended minimum intake of 5 servings per day (400g of fresh weight equivalent). Global populations are consistently deficient in key nutrients such as folate, potassium, fiber, vitamin A, C, K and magnesium found in fruits and vegetables. Globally, people are more likely to adopt diets that include more meat, fats and refined cereals, and fewer traditional cereals, vegetables and fruit because of increasing urbanization and growing prosperity. In the most recent report from the World Health Organization on mortality and burden of disease attributable to major risks (Global Health Risks), nearly 1.7 million deaths were attributed to low intake of... Read more

Derek Yach, PepsiCo’s Senior Vice President, Global Health Policy and Jeffrey L. Sturchio, President and CEO of the Global Health Council, co-authored an article in The Huffington Post yesterday called Using Business Skills to Solve Social Ills. They write about the important role multi-sectoral partnerships play in achieving the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals and state their belief that “the role of the private sector, too often overlooked in international development, is critical — even indispensable — to speeding up progress on the MDGs. Some companies are already engaged, but many more can and will join the MDG effort. By aligning their business objectives and social investments with the MDG targets, corporations large and small can help move millions out of poverty.” See the complete blog post at the Huffington Post. Read more

Derek Yach, PepsiCo’s Senior Vice President, Global Health Policy is attending the Clinton Global Initiative this week in New York. Yesterday, he spoke with Fast Company about PepsiCo’s commitment to delivering a healthier portfolio of products and protecting natural resources. He also suggested three trends that he believes are converging to advance public-private partnerships. An excerpt of the conversation is below. “In the long term, there will be a confluence between profitability and health concerns and the quality of the environment. Consumers differentiate where they buy their products depending on their health and commitment to the environment. In order for people to buy from you, they have to trust the brand and the company, not just like the taste and the flavor. People care how your ingredients are sourced and your ethical use of resources, and the quality and nutrition of your food.” See the complete blog... Read more

As I’ve mentioned before, PepsiCo has made ambitious commitments to reduce added sugar, sodium and fat across our food and beverage portfolio while increasing whole grains, fruits and vegetables (Learn more about these goals and commitments). R&D plays a central role within PepsiCo, and our dedication to scientific innovation will help make these commitments a reality. Last week, as part of our inaugural “PepsiCo Academy of Sciences” award celebration, we honored some of the brightest scientific minds across PepsiCo – the cornerstones of our R&D function – who are helping us progress toward these ambitious goals.  These scientists are involved in extraordinary projects – from technological and product breakthroughs to solutions that solve cultural, flavor or textural challenges. Their ingenuity and dedication are bringing better-tasting, more nutritious products and more environmentally friendly packaging to our millions of consumers around the globe. At the event, which took place... Read more

At PepsiCo, we believe in mentoring and nurturing young scientists. We, and our colleagues on the R&D team, recognize the influence of mentors as we built our own careers. In fact, our senior leadership team has formalized the importance of support systems for students and young professionals as part of our company’s talent sustainability goals. Each year, we sponsor a summer internship program for young scientists in the nutrition field. The program provides students an opportunity to see the important role the food industry can play in meeting global nutrition challenges, and it provides us the opportunity to learn from the intern’s fresh perspectives. As the summer draws to a close, we want to take this opportunity to highlight some of the great work the PepsiCo R&D interns did in nutrition science and food policy. Our 21 interns all had impressive backgrounds in science and nutrition. They hailed... Read more

We continue to get good questions in the comments section of this blog. Recently, we heard from a reader who wanted to know more about using different salt crystal shapes and the steps that need to take place to bring a new food product to market. Those questions can be found here. One of the things we are studying is the way a chip “holds” salt and salt perception. When you eat a chip, only about 20 percent of the salt actually dissolves on the tongue before the chip is chewed and swallowed while the other 80 percent is swallowed without contributing to the taste. Chips actually have comparable amounts of sodium (from salt) to other foods, such as breads and cereals, but those taste less salty because the salt is mixed in, while chips tend to taste more salty because the salt is usually on... Read more

Food Frontiers readers have asked several questions related to the integrity of food industry scientists, whether all food company actions must lead to increased profits, and the need to place the full text of speeches and comments in the public domain. Let me address each. Read more