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Frito Lay flags up natural snacks reformulation plans

By Jane Byrne , 04-Jan-2011

Frito-Lay North America has unveiled plans to have approximately 50 per cent of its product portfolio made with all natural ingredients, including three of its biggest brands.

The snack food maker said that, by the end of 2011, more than six dozen varieties of Frito-Lay products will be made with all natural ingredients including all the flavors of Lay's potato chips, Tostitos tortilla chips, and SunChips multigrain snacks.

The snacks, said Frito Lay, will not contain any artificial flavours or artificial preservatives, nor ingredients such as monosodium glutamate (MSG).

According to Mintel’s Global New Product Database, approximately 14 per cent of the new food and drink product launches in the US last year were marketed on a an all ‘natural’ label claim.

Ann Mukherjee, svp and chief marketing officer, Frito-Lay said that: "As the snack food category leader, we have insights that show consumers are seeking a wider range of products made with all natural ingredients.. we want to provide our customers with a broad portfolio of snack options that taste great and are made with real food ingredients."

However, consumers on the lookout for eco-friendly claims are skeptical about the term ‘natural’, and two-thirds would favor a uniform standard to certify natural claims, according to a recent survey.

The poll, from natural and organic marketing firm Mango Sprouts Marketing, asked 1,000 natural product consumers about their organic shopping habits in an effort to get an idea of upcoming trends for the sector in 2011.

Currently, although manufacturers of organic foods and beverages must adhere to strict standards in order to be allowed to use the term, the Food and Drug Administration has declined to define the word ‘natural’.

Nevertheless, its use on food packaging is rapidly increasing as consumers are seeking products that are free from artificial additives.

The market research found that one in three consumers surveyed (34 per cent) were ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ confident in natural labeling, while two in three (65 per cent) said they would like to see the term certified, for both processes and ingredients.

Another 25 per cent of those surveyed said they were ‘somewhat interested’ in natural certification.

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