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The Wall Street Journal reports on how Frito-Lay “is embarking on an audacious plan ... to make half its snacks sold in the U.S. with only natural ingredients. Many are already in grocery stores.”

The problem that Frito-Lay is facing, the story says, is the “conflicting currents in the marketplace: Many customers say they want to lose weight and eat better - but it's not clear that healthy snacks sell as well as junk food.

“Still, Frito-Lay is saying so long to monosodium glutamate and roughly three dozen other artificial ingredients in more than 60 snack varieties. Lay's flavored potato chips, Tostitos tortilla chips, multigrain SunChips and Rold Gold pretzels are all getting a makeover ... Frito-Lay is holding off so far on converting its Doritos and Cheetos brands to all-natural ingredients. Those products, with bold flavors, are harder to retool and are marketed to teens and other consumers who might be turned off if told the chips were all natural. As well, going all natural risks highlighting the artificial ingredients that were in the chips before.”

Health advocates caution that “all natural” is not the same as “healthy”; the fat and sugar content in some of these reformulated products apparently is not changing significantly.
KC's View:
Baby steps are a lot better than doing nothing, and I think it can be fairly argued that this is a lot better than baby steps.

And Frito-Lay has its own conflicting currents to deal with - it wants to deal with increasing calls for more nutritious and healthier foods, but it has a bottom line to worry about.