Dr. Mehmood Khan Profiled in Chicago Tribune

By 2020, PepsiCo hopes to double its healthier food portfolio to $30 billion with the help of Dr. Mehmood Khan, who is now PepsiCo’s chief scientist and CEO of its Global Nutrition Group, according to an article from the Chicago Tribune.

The story profiles Khan, a scientist and doctor who has studied nutrition and agriculture, and worked at the Mayo Clinic on diabetes issues, as well. Khan’s mission will be helping Pepsi make its soda- and chips-focused portfolio marginally healthier. In doing so, he might also give Pepsi a much need boost in the current health-driven market, according to the story.

With food manufacturers under pressure from the government, consumers and interest groups, the initiative is important to Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi. Like other companies, PepsiCo is trying to make healthier choices easier and tastier, and Khan’s job offers a chance for him to affect the nutrition of consumers directly, and on a global scale.

Khan has been working on fortified snacks for iron-deficient children in India, while at the same time reducing sodium content in snacks through a proprietary “crystal” salt. In the cola wars too, Pepsi is taking a healthier line, introducing “Pepsi Next”, which will have 60 percent less sugar than the original.

Key Takeaways from the story:

*Pepsico is not stopping at Stevia as its key natural sweetener, it has tasters flying all over the world to sample sweetener alternative.

*While Tropicana is trying to improve its health-oriented products, its current offerings are down — Tropicana is down, and Gatorade has just gone through a couple of rough years before righting the ship.

*PepsiCo won’t just develop these items internally, Khan confirmed: the company is expecting to seek partnerships and make acquisitions to build the healthy and “better-for-you” business to a targeted $30 billion.