The new Smart Spot symbol is designed to help US consumers identify more than 100 of the company's food and beverage choices that it believes can "contribute to healthier lifestyles". The logo will appear nationally from 1 September on PepsiCo brands including Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay, Quaker and Diet Pepsi.
"Consumers have told us they want simple, clear and positive information to help them identify and consume food and beverage choices that contribute to healthier lifestyles," said Steve Reinemund, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo.
But how are the products featuring the new logo selected, and do they really meet healthy living criteria? "Products with the Smart Spot designation meet nutrition criteria based on authoritative statements from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Academy of Sciences," PepsiCo said in a statement. "The Smart Spot criteria represent consensus opinion among numerous health and nutrition experts, based on credible nutrition science."
This includes limits on the amount of fat - including saturated and trans fats - cholesterol, sodium and added sugar. The Smart Spot symbol is also said to identify many products that are nutritious and contribute fibre, vitamins and other important nutrients, products which have reduced fat or sugar levels, and products formulated to have specific health or wellness benefits.
Currently, more than half of PepsiCo's new product revenues are coming from Smart Spot products, and the company said it hoped to have at least half of its new US products qualify for the Smart Spot symbol.
The bright green Smart Spot symbol will be positioned in the front, lower right corner of all relevant packaging, while the back of all Smart Spot product packaging will explain why the product earned the Smart Spot designation.
PepsiCo, like many other companies, has reacted to the health and fitness craze in the US with a raft of product launches, from low-carb Pepsi Edge cola and Doritos chips to fortified Tropicana juices, as well as increased marketing expenditure for other products such as Quaker Oats, designed to emphasise their healthy eating qualities.
Adding the Smart Spot to these products will certainly make them easier to spot, but it could also confuse consumers into eating products which, while perhaps healthier than other similar brands, are not necessarily good for them per se. For example, a low-calorie pack of Lay's chips contains half the calories of regular lay's, but that is still 75 calories per one ounce serving.