I just Googled “Frito-Lay makes people fat.” That’s right. I did that. My search results didn’t really turn up exactly what I had hoped, but I still know that those keywords are the truth. I bet you do, too.
Judging by that statement, I’m sure you’re now plenty aware that I’m no fan of PepsiCo owned Frito-Lay. In my opinion, the food giant is right up there with McDonald’s when it comes to negligently contributing to America’s obesity epidemic. Nope, not a fan.
So, why am I bagging out Plano’s own chippery? Every green living blog I browsed today spouted news of Frito-Lay’s new fuel efficient vehicle fleet. The company added over 1,200 fuel efficient vehicles so store deliveries “will have a lower carbon footprint.” But keep in mind that these aren’t electric or even electric hybrid cars, there just more fuel efficient than the vehicles they were using. Kinda like trading a Towncar for a Beetle. It’s the same gas, just less of it. And the older cars aren’t being taken off the road and replaced; these fuel efficient vehicles are merely additions to the current fleet.
Frito-Lay is an $11 billion business and I’m guessing that unlike in every other industry, chip sales aren’t hurting because of the recession. Surely an entire fully hybrid fleet is affordable. Surely American car manufacturers need those dollars right now. I’m not giving Frito-Lay any props for this move that’s just straight-up PR.
In fact, it reminds me of the line of “organic” chips they rolled out in 2003. Absolute rubbish. Some of the ingredients in these chips are organic. SOME. The “organic” line of products is nowhere close to being healthy or natural, despite a huge marketing push and million-dollar branding strategy to push consumers believe that the products are a healthy, natural alternative (an alternative to Frito-Lay’s own products, I might add). A bag of Cheetos has 10 grams of fat. A bag of “organic” Cheetos has nine grams of fat. Kids are still going to get fat eating Chester’s goodies, no matter if we want to call it “organic” or not. And sure, they removed MSG as an ingredient in their “organic” line, but I can think of a better move. How about removing MSG from all your products? Maybe if you made real food from real ingredients you wouldn’t need flavor enhancers in your products.
So, Frito-Lay, you’re moving in the right direction, but make a green move with more to back it up than mere PR and start thinking about the health of your consumers instead of their wallets. Then we can talk.
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© 2009, Sarah Toler. All rights reserved.