This week we launched the PepsiCo UK Health Update 2011 at a time when there is continued debate over industry’s role in tackling public health challenges.

I believe strongly that putting the blame for the increase in obesity at the feet of food and drink companies alone is as narrow a view as it is to say there is one solution to the problem. That was my opinion a year ago when we launched our first Health Report and it is still my view today. 

We can all agree that tackling obesity is a complex problem and there is no silver bullet. The kind of change society seeks to achieve will not be easy and we all need to play a part; the private sector, government, NGOs and the public. If we are going to balance the energy-in/energy-out challenge we all face, we need to work together and find a multi-faceted solution. That solution must encourage and not stifle growth, and it must not reduce the incentive for investment in innovation the type of innovation that has again enabled us to reduce the salt in a bag of Walkers Crisps by another 11.7%.

As our Health reporting shows, PepsiCo is doing its bit by taking a broad view of the role we can play. Firstly, we are participating in the government’s Responsibility Deal it is an important step to get industry working with government, NGOS and others to find the most effective way to create change. Secondly, we are building a business whose future profit and growth is driven by healthier products. We all know the biggest growth potential lies in healthier products, and the vision we have for PepsiCo is not only the right thing to do, it also makes business sense.

Today we report good progress on the 27 health commitments we made in March 2010. We’re delivering on our promise to reformulate our core products; we’ve not only reduced salt in Walkers, we’ve also reduced sugar in regular Pepsi. We’re delivering on our promise to reshape our portfolio; 54% of PepsiCo products are classed as healthier and we’ve seen great new products hit the market this year, such as the UK’s first 100% fruit juice lemonade under our Tropicana brand and our first on-the-go, just add hot water Quaker porridge product, the Oat So Simple pot.

Quaker’s huge success has also enabled us to beat our target for delivering servings of wholegrain to the UK diet a year early; we aimed for 1.7 billion by 2012 and have already achieved 1.9 billion. We’re using our marketing expertise to promote healthier choices while working to widen availability of healthier ranges; we’ve launched a multimillion pound Sunbites advertising campaign and have put Tropicana into 3,500 more quick-serve restaurants, including Burger King and McDonald’s.

These are good results. But I can also report nine ambers and two reds (as well as the 16 greens) on our progress chart. We face challenges but we’re not in the business of setting easy targets and would prefer to stretch ourselves, both from within and also by working in partnership. For example, we’ve partnered with Ferran Adria, founder of the world-renowned restaurant El Bulli in Spain to bring new tastes, textures and experiences into our foods.

This work will help us create healthier products with the great taste our consumers expect.