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PepsiCo is a global food company which comprises Frito-Lay North America, PepsiCo Beverages North America, PepsiCo International and Quaker Foods North America. In 2006 it had revenue of $35 billion. The company was formed in 1965 as a result of the merger of Pepsi-Cola and Frito-Lay. In 1998 it bought Tropicana and in 2001 merged with The Quaker Oats Company, including Gatorade. [1]

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

Prior to 2012, PepsiCo was a major contributor to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). In June of 2011, the Center for Media and Democracy began ALEC Exposed, an extensive investigation of ALEC. This campaign garnered widespread media attention in the wake of the the killing of Treyvon Martin by Alex Zimmerman, who was initially protected by Florida's "Stand Your Ground" Law. [1]. The law originated as a piece of ALEC legislation. Under public Pressure from the Center for Media and Democracy, Color of Change, Common Cause, People for the American Way, and other allies, PepsiCo made the decision not to renew their 2011 membership with ALEC.[2]

A list of ALEC corporations, can be found here. A list of other corporations which have cut ties with ALEC can be found here.

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's, and check out breaking news on our site.

Dressing up junk food as "Smart Spot" foods

After a survey found that only 10 percent of respondents rated PepsiCo as a company that was "concerned with my health," placing it near the bottom, PepsiCo was adamant about positioning itself as part of the solution. So, in 2005, PepsiCo launched the "Smart Spot" program, a self-congratulatory stamp of approval on its own products that are deemed healthier alternatives.[3] According to PepsiCo, the green check mark symbol is designed to make people's lives simpler by serving "as a shortcut, an easy way for consumers to identify a broad range of food and beverage choices from PepsiCo that contribute to a healthier lifestyle."[4] The program is aimed particularly at moms, who, according to Ellen Taaffe, PepsiCo's vice president of Health and Wellness Marketing, can use the Smart Spot to "make some healthier choices to help move their families toward healthier lifestyles."[5]

Because PepsiCo continues to make products that don't meet its self-selected Smart Spot criteria, PepsiCo divided its products into "good for you" and "better for you (Smart Spot offerings), and "product alternatives" and "fun-for-you" foods (non-Smart Spot items). PepsiCo rates more than 200 of its products as healthier, "Smart Spot" foods, including diet soda and baked potato chips.[6]

Pepsi will also launch a pilot project, called "Perfect Storm," later this year, "in a major U.S. city with a significant population of both African-Americans and Latinos." It's targeting "urban youth and 'ethnic gatekeepers'" because "Smart Spot" marketing doesn't "always resonate with minorities."

Nutrition "education" programs

PepsiCo has launched a number of educational programs geared at teaching nutrition to children, including Balance First (in-school curriculum), Get Active Stay Active (part of the President's Challenge), Get Kids in Action,, P.E. 4 Life (Gatorade sponsored), S.M.A.R.T. Living (part of the Smart Spot program), and America on the Move. These programs are touted by PepsiCo as helping poor schools with much-needed resources, despite the fact that PepsiCo's principal purpose is to generate revenue from the sale of unhealthy foods and drinks.[7]

In November 2005, PepsiCo opened the first of a planned thirteen branded playgrounds for kids in Washington, D.C.[8] Brock Leach, PepsiCo's chief innovation officer explained that the playgrounds were "all about moving more, helping kids move more."[9] All of the equipment bears the company's "SmartSpot" logo.

"Reality marketing"

"The study of people in their natural environment is, The Hartman Group believes, the future of marketing," explains a Seattle Post-Intelligencer story. So this market research firm, which has worked for Whole Foods, PepsiCo and Campbell Soup Company, has sent two sociocultural anthropologists into a private home for up to nine months, to "observe the family's eating habits." [2]

This new approach - called "reality marketing" - will fill "an enormous void in the intellectual capital of the entire industry," said The Hartman Group's Michelle Barry. Pepsi's vice-president of consumer and customer insights, Dwight Riskey, agrees. "This generates a richness that we wouldn't get from standard techniques," he said. The Hartman Group's CEO, Harvey Hartman, stressed the importance of observing one family over time: "The fluidity of life is the power behind reality marketing." [3]

PepsiCo ceases funding for animal tests

Following a year of negotiations, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) received a written statement from PepsiCo that the company would cease funding animal testing as of May 2007. [10]

"PepsiCo does not conduct any animal tests and does not directly fund any animal tests on its beverages and foods. Where governmental agencies require animal tests to demonstrate ingredient safety, companies using those ingredients rely on third party testing. PepsiCo has shared our concern regarding the ethical and humane treatment of animals with our suppliers and others in the industry. We encourage the use of alternative testing methods whenever and wherever possible and have financially supported research to develop these alternative methods." [11]

Animal tests funded by PepsiCo

Testing funded by PepsiCo included the implanting of testosterone pellets and human prostate tumors into mice; inducing colon cancer in rats by injecting chemicals and infecting mice with respiratory viruses then forcing them to exercise on treadmills for three consecutive days; after which they were killed. The last experiment was a "student research project" funded by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute. [12]

Coca-Cola follows suit

Days after PepsiCo's announcement on May 27th, rival Coca-Cola, made a similar announcement on May 31st. PETA's campaign against Coke and Pepsi lasted for approximately one year. [13]

Ad boycott against Air America Radio

Pepsi refused to advertise on the progressive Air America Radio. In October 2006, around 90 companies, including PepsiCo, told ABC Radio Networks that they did not want their ads to play on radio stations that carried Air America Radio. [14] [15] [16]

Public relations

In July 2009, PepsiCo announced it was retaining the public relations firm Edelman, for a "multimillion-dollar corporate reputation campaign." According to Pepsi's vice-president of strategic communications, P.J. Sinopoli, the contract includes "rais[ing] awareness among PepsiCo stakeholders about the totality of the PepsiCo brand," along with "showcasing the company's healthier snacking options and its CSR (corporate social responsibility) work." Also working on the contract are the firm Luntz, Maslansky Strategic Research, on "message management," along with Edelman's research arm, StrategyOne. [17]

Political contributions

PepsiCo gave $302,092 to federal candidates in the 05/06 election cycle through its political action committee (PAC) - 26% to Democrats, 73% to Republicans, and 1% ($5,000) to independent Joseph Lieberman (I-CT). [18]


PepsiCo spent $880,318 for lobbying in 2006. $592,900 went to seven outside lobbying firms with the remainder being spent using in-house lobbyists. Some of the firms were Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, Lesher & Russell, and Alliance for American Advertising. [19]


Key executives[21] 2006 Pay Options Exercised
Indra K. Nooyi, Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer $3,960,000 $0
Richard Goodman, Chief Financial Officer $1,170,000 $0
John C. Compton, Chief Exec. Officer of North America $2,130,000 $17,000
Dawn E. Hudson, President of Pepsi-Cola North America $1,850,000 $3,080,000
Cynthia M. Trudell, Chief Personnel Officer $100,000 N/A


Accessed March 2008: [22]

Contact details

700 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577
Phone: (914) 253-2000
Fax: (914) 253-2070

Articles & sources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Charlie Braxton: Trayvon, Justice, and a Group Called ALEC, BET, Accessed April 11th, 2012
  2. Rebekah Wilce, Inuit Out, Coke, Craft, Pepsi too, while Koch stands ground,, April 6, 2012
  3. Michele Simon Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back (Nation Books, 2006), pg 99-100
  4. PepsiCo "National Promotion to Highlight PepsiCo's Smart Spot Program" January 12, 2005
  5. Ellen Taaffe quoted in Michele Simon Appetite for Profit pg 101-102
  6. Michele Simon Appetite for Profit pg 103
  7. Michele Simon Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back (Nation Books, 2006), pg 38-39
  8. PepsiCo"PepsiCo Builds Smart Spot Playgrounds To Promote Healthier Lifestyles" Accessed October 2009
  9. Brock Leach quoted in Michele Simon Appetite for Profit pg 33
  10. PETA Praises Beverage Giant After Talks End Fatal Experiments, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Press Release, May 2007
  11. Our Sustainable Future: Policies, PepsiCo, accessed February 2009
  12. PETA Praises Beverage Giant After Talks End Fatal Experiments, PETA Media Center, Press Release, May 2007
  13. Coca-Cola stops funding animal testing: PETA , Reuters, New York, May 2007
  14. Marc Fisher, "Air America, in the Throes of Victory?", The Washington Post, December 10, 2006.
  15. "Air America on Ad Blacklist?", FAIR, October 31, 2006.
  16. "Air America Blackout", memo, October 25, 2006.
  17. Aarti Shah, "PepsiCo taps Edelman to lead multimillion-dollar campaign," PR Week, July 7, 2009.
  18. 2006 PAC Summary Data, Open Secrets, accessed October 2007.
  19. PepsiCo Inc lobbying expenses, Open Secrets, accessed October 2007.
  20. Americas Society Annual Report 2006, Americas Society, accessed August 23, 2007.
  21. PepsiCo Key Executives, Yahoo Finance, accessed October 2007.
  22. Directors, , accessed March 10, 2008.

External resources

External articles