Snack Companies Search For "Healthy" Junk Food To Protect The Bottom Line

03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Jennifer Ordoñez Newsweek

Except for the occasional oversize bag of naked Cheetos lying around (they're not yet covered in fluorescent orange cheese flavoring), the maze of windowless rooms on the second floor of the Frito-Lay headquarters could pass for a university microbiology lab. Highly flammable beakers of globby fats are separated, broken down and measured, as scientists try to test the fat content in batches of chips. A walk-in cooler is filled with huge boxes of apples, part of something the company calls the "Eden Project." And don't laugh: with the recent launch of Frito's Flat Earth line of baked fruit and vegetable crisps ("one-half serving of real vegetables in every ounce"), the company is now the nation's largest buyer of pumpkin, a big ingredient in the snack.

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