Why Bother Chewing? Pepsi Out to 'Snackify' Beverages and 'Drinkify' Snacks


Image: Popsop.com

Pepsi is rolling out a new product next month: Tropolis, a drinkable snack. It's marketing its Tropolis "smooth blend of real squeezable fruit" to moms and kids, apparently to replace the role of actual fruit. Why is this not the greatest idea ever?Fruits' optimal nutrients come when they are eaten whole: you get all the fiber and vitamins in one easy (naturally compostable) package, instead of what Marion Nestle called straight sugar in these fruit concentrate drinks.

From an environmental standpoint, processing foods unnecessarily, and then packaging them unnecessarily, all adds to the already excessive demand our food industry places on the country's energy supply and capacity for waste disposal.

Pepsi is trying to tap the demand for more nutritious foods within the convenience food market, and believes people do not want to look for food groups individually—they want 'combinations' of food groups. So Pepsi is combining foods for such people.

The Wall Street Journal spoke with Pepsi's Chairman and Chief Executive Indra Nooyi:

Ms. Nooyi has said she wants to build the nutrition business to $30 billion from $10 billion by 2020.

To that end, PepsiCo announced earlier this month it would buy Russian dairy and juice-maker OAO Wimm-Bill-Dann in a deal valuing the company at $5.4 billion. "We see the emerging opportunity to 'snackify' beverages and 'drinkify' snacks as the next frontier in food and beverage convenience," Ms. Nooyi said. She cited examples such as kefir, a sour, yogurt-like drink that is popular in Russia and that some say aids in digestion. She said she expects to see dairy products mixed with juice, grains, fruits and nuts, all of which PepsiCo markets.

The Journal paraphrases Mehmood Khan, an endocrinologist who heads Pepsi's nutrition group: it's outdated to think that snacks are dry and beverages are wet.

Tropolis will be launched in test markets in the Midwest next month, at 80 calories a pop and in apple, grape and cherry flavors.

More on new food and packaging ideas
Are Coke's New Stevia Softdrinks Safe to Drink?
Is Noise Really Why SunChips Should Ditch Bioplastic Packaging?

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