Frito-Lay to Make 50% of Snacks with 'All-Natural' Ingredients

PLANO, TX — Recipes for more than six dozen varieties of Frito-Lay snacks, including Lay's potato chips, Tostitos and SunChips, will be reformulated in the coming year so that 50 percent of the company's products are made only with natural ingredients, the firm said this week.

PepsiCo's Frito-Lay North America division, which has pursued greener manufacturing facilities, transportation and packaging, announced the ingredients change on Tuesday and described the marketing blitz that will promote the product reformulation. Frito-Lay said the largest integrated marketing campaign in company history launches on New Year's Day during the Tostito Fiesta Bowl.

In addition to television and print ads and in-store promotions, the company plans to make extensive use of digital and social media. The firm already has a presence on Twitter and Facebook. Frito-Lay said most of its ads in 2011 will list branded Facebook pages and, for the first time, packaging will list them as well. The firm contends that move will enable it to "claim the broadest portfolio of consumer products that include a Facebook URL on packaging to date."

"Throughout the campaign, Frito-Lay is highlighting our 'seed to shelf' story,' " said Ann Mukherjee, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Frito-Lay. "We are pulling back the curtain and inviting consumers to learn how our products are created, from our kitchen into theirs."

According to the company, the snacks made with "all-natural" ingredients will not contain artificial or synthetic ingredients, flavors, preservatives or additives such as monosodium glutamate.

In a blog post about Frito-Lay's plans, green marketing expert Suzanne Shelton lauded the company, but she also warned about the "Snackwell Effect" -- the tendency to consume more of something, from cookies to electricity, because steps have been taken to ease the impact of consumption, such as making the sweets lower in calories or installing energy-saving fixtures and appliances. Shelton urged Frito-Lay to "give consumers the straight story about natural vs. healthy/good for you" snacks.

Frito-Lay broached that subject in the social media as chat about its reformulation plan began to burble on the company's Facebook and Twitter pages this week.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user espensorvik.