How Pepsico’s shift towards healthier snacks plays out in Thailand

PepsiCo Food, a part of Pepsi-Cola Thai Trading Co and the maker of Lay’s potato chips, is shifting to healthier snack options.

The company aims to make Sunbites, a multigrain snack, a trademark healthy snack brand among Thais.

The move is part of Pepsi-Cola’s 2016-25 strategic plan to focus on three core priorities: improving health and well-being through the products it sells, protecting the planet and empowering people around the world.

Nitin Bhandari, marketing director for foods at Pepsi-Cola Thai Trading, told the Bangkok Post PepsiCo’s ambition is to enable better nutrition at scale by continuing to develop a broader portfolio of food and beverage choices to meet changing consumer needs by reducing added sugars, saturated fat and sodium levels in its product portfolio.

In 2025, at least three-quarters of its global foods portfolio volume will not exceed 1.1 grammes of saturated fat per 100 calories, and at least three-quarters of its global foods portfolio volume will not exceed 1.3 milligrammes of sodium per calorie.

Nitin Bhandari, marketing director for foods at Pepsi-Cola Thai Trading:

“The sales growth rate of what the company refers to as everyday nutrition products will outpace the rate of sales growth in the balance of PepsiCo’s portfolio.”

Everyday nutrition products include those that deliver whole grains, fruits and vegetables, dairy, protein and hydration.

In Thailand, the company will put a focus on Sunbites, which was introduced to the Thai market in 2010.

The company has moved a step further by launching Sunbites Plus last week. The company will allocate about 50 million baht to promote new products this year.

Sunbites Plus aims to meet the needs of health-conscious people. It is made from rice and beneficial ingredients like riceberry and seaweed, and has under 40% fat. Actress and model Praya “Pu” Lundberg is the brand ambassador.

The company expects Sunbites Plus products will get a warm welcome from Thai consumers, as seen for Sunbites.

Nitin Bhandari:

“Sunbites is the top brand among healthier snack choices and ranks among one of the top three best selling brands under PepsiCo Food in Thailand after Lay’s and Tawan brand.”

“Today Sunbites brand is still small but it is growing very fast and it will become bigger in the near future.”

The company previously launched baked potato chips under the Lay’s brand and moved to use rice bran oil, replacing palm oil.

In Thailand, Frito-Lay started to use rice bran oil, a healthy oil extracted from rice husks, replacing the less healthier palm oil.

Lay’s potato chips have grown in double-digits in the first five months of this year, a stark contrast to the flat growth across the fast-moving consumer products industry.

The growth of Lay’s potato chips helped boost the overall potato chip snack segment in the first five months of this year to grow by 17%. Details on the figures are not available.

Nitin Bhandari:

“We continue to have a positive outlook for Thailand salty snack industry.”

“We’ve seen good growth from many snacks, including potato chips, fish snacks and seasoned seaweed.”

“This boosted the overall salty snack segment to grow by 5.9% in the first five months of this year.”

Thailand’s salty snack market was worth 35.2 billion baht (just over 1 billion USD) last year.

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