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PepsiCo's Designer Salt to Make Potato Chips Healthier

Frito Lays

The masses have spoken, and they want healthy food. At least, that's what PepsiCo thinks—the company plans to cut down on sodium, saturated fat, and sugar in all of its brands, while whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and low-fat dairy will become increasingly present. Most intriguingly, the food and beverage giant has come up with a "designer salt" that reduces sodium levels in Lay's potato chips.

PepsiCo told the Wall Street Journal that the powdery salt contains crystals with a shape and size that slashes the amount of sodium ingested by people when they gobble down potato chips. The WSJ reports:

Normally, only about 20% of the salt on a chip actually dissolves on the tongue before the chip is chewed and swallowed, and the remaining 80% is swallowed without contributing to the taste, said Dr. Khan, who oversees PepsiCo's long-term research. PepsiCo wanted a salt that would replicate the traditional "salt curve," delivering an initial spike of saltiness, then a body of flavor and lingering sensation, said Dr. Yep, who joined the company in June 2009 from Swiss flavor company Givaudan SA.

We appreciate PepsiCo's efforts in sparing us from obesity, but the company still has a long way to go in the sustainability department. A recent study from Trucost found that the top 20 food and beverage companies in the U.S.—including PepsiCo—released a total of 26,898,732 metric tons of CO2 in 2007 thanks to greenhouse gas-spewing refrigerants and high energy use. And while Pepsi recently released a "Commitment 2020" plan detailing its goals to cut power use by 25% and slash water use by 25%, the company needs to step up its worldwide release of vending machines with green refrigerants to really make a difference. Otherwise, PepsiCo's high carbon footprint will put a damper on the feel-good factor of low-sodium potato chips.