PepsiCo has underlined its commitment to developing healthier snacks in the UK in the wake of saying it would make its “biggest ever” marketing investment behind its new Walkers Deep Ridged product.

The launch of the Walkers Deep Ridged line, which will go on sale next month, has focused on the taste of the product.

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However, its products marketed as healthier snacks in the UK have had a mixed record.

Nevertheless, speaking to just-food, senior Walkers brand manager Adam Warner insisted PepsiCo was still investing in developing its “better for you” range.

“We continue to invest to grow our better for you portfolio, two thirds of our research and development budget has been channelled into producing healthier, great tasting snacks,” Warner said. He pointed to the launch of Walkers Baked Stars, a product he said had 70% less fat than “standard” crisps, in the last year.

PepsiCo, like many food manufacturers, has looked to make its products healthier and has, for instance, cut the amount of salt across the Walkers range. However, the company admitted last July sales of healthier baked snacks under its Walkers brand had not taken off to the extent the company hoped.

Warner said sales of Walkers Baked Stars had hit GBP3.1m (US$4.8m) by the week ending 5 May, which was six weeks after its launch.

PepsiCo is coy about the amount it is spending on marketing its healthier snacks in the UK. However, Warner said the company ran a “multi-million” campaign behind the relaunch of its Walkers Sunbites line and had boosted sales. Sales in the four weeks to 25 February were up 42%, he said.