Pepsi Co subsidiary Frito-Lay has announced its intention to market reduced-fat crisps from December this year.

The company will launch Lay’s Reduced Fat crisps, which will have 25% less total fat and 60% less saturated fat than regular Lay’s crisps. Frito-Lay will also launch Cheetos Reduced Fat snacks, which will contain 50% less total fat and 70% less saturated fat than regular Cheetos. The reduced-fat crisps are likely to cost 5-10% more than the regular versions.

Frito-Lay also plans to replace hydrogenated oil which is used in its Doritos, Tostitos and Cheetos, with corn oil early next year. Hydrogenated oil contains harmful trans fatty acids which raise LDL cholesterol.

The move comes amid increasing concerns over US obesity levels – around 69 million Americans are overweight and 51 million are obese, according to the American Obesity Association.

Food companies and restaurants may be forced to shoulder some of the responsibility for the problem as class-action attorneys consider suing them for health problems and death.

Frito-Lay also plans to launch a youth fitness initiative in partnership with Dr Kenneth Cooper’s Cooper Aerobics Centre, and will also feature fitness and nutrition advice from Dr Cooper on the packaging of Frito-Lay snacks.
Frito-Lay recently posted Q2 revenue of US$2.04bn, an increase of 4% from the same period last year, and operating profit of $530m, an increase of 8% from last year’s Q2.

Frito-Lay is not the only company to act on recent concerns over American Obesity. Fastfood giant McDonald’s has recently announced that it will cook its French fries in an oil that contains less of the type of fat that is linked to heart disease, reported Reuters News.