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PEPSICO Europe expands healthier snacks and beverage portfolio across Europe

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1 July 2021 - PepsiCo Europe is today (1 July) announcing an ambitious new plan to add more choice to its food and beverage portfolio in the member states of the European Union. The plan involves a series of commitments based on rigorous science-based nutrition guidelines. This voluntary commitment will be submitted to the European Commission as a part of its Code of Conduct for Responsible Business and Marketing Practices.

These commitments build on progress PepsiCo has already made globally over the past decade to reduce added sugars in beverages and sodium and saturated fat in foods, introduce smaller portion sizes and create alternatives of existing brands with improved nutritional profiles, like Pepsi MAX, 7UP Free and Lay’s Oven Baked. [1]

For its beverage portfolio in Europe, which includes Pepsi-Cola, Lipton Ice Tea and 7UP, PepsiCo’s new pledge will reduce the average level of added sugars across its entire soft drinks range by 25% by 2025 and 50% by 2030[2].  Across Europe, PepsiCo has already established a strong sugar-free portfolio in beverages, including Pepsi MAX and 7UP Free.  The sugar reduction also has a positive climate impact.  The company estimates that moving from full sugar to sugar-free formulations reduces up to a quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions from a beverage.

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PepsiCo Europe wants to also further its journey to diversify its snack portfolio to include healthier options, learning from its success in growing sugar-free beverages.  It aims to increase sales of snacks rated a B or better in the widely used Nutri-Score nutrition labelling system[3] by more than 10X by 2025.  This will make healthier snacks its fastest growing food category over the next four years with an ambition to expand this to a $1 billion portfolio by 2030.   

The new goals will be achieved through reformulation of existing products, expanding the company’s existing brands, including Lay’s Oven Baked, to more markets, and introducing new snacking ranges such as PopWorks, its newly launched popped corn crisps range.

PepsiCo’s grains portfolio, which includes Quaker Oats, already offers a range of nutritious products to EU consumers with 70% of the product[4] rated at either Nutri-Score A or B.

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PepsiCo Europe Chief Executive Officer Silviu Popovici said: “Consumers want healthier and more sustainable brands, and they want products that taste great.  Over the past decade, we’ve reformulated and launched new products to bring more options to consumers. As a result, in Europe today, almost one in three beverages we sell is sugar-free and we believe this trend will continue to grow over time.  With this pledge, we can use our experience with sugar reduction to accelerate our shift to a healthier snacks portfolio.”

PepsiCo understands that it is vital to market its products responsibly.  The company has also aligned to UNESDA (the European soft drinks industry association) and the World Federation of Advertisers (EU Pledge) commitments around no marketing or advertising to children under 13. Since 2006, PepsiCo has not advertised its soft drinks to under 12s across Europe and it has applied science-based nutrition criteria to determine which food products it can advertise to under 12s.

This new plan is part of PepsiCo’s efforts to create a more sustainable food system and support the EU’s ambitious Green Deal.  At the end of 2020, the company announced its plans to reduce virgin plastic use by moving to 100% recycled plastic bottles for brand Pepsi across nine EU markets by 2022.  PepsiCo has also stepped up its goals to tackle climate change, committing to net zero by 2040 and a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 2030, while also scaling regenerative agriculture across its entire agricultural footprint, reducing GHGs by 3 million tons by 2030.

About PepsiCo

PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $70 billion in net revenue in 2020, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker, Tropicana and SodaStream. PepsiCo's product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 23 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales. 


[1] Calculated by Retail Sales Value

[2] Compared to a baseline of 2019

[3] Nutri-Score is a nutritional label which evaluates the overall nutritional quality of food based on a five-colour coded scale going from A to E.

[4] Calculated by Quaker product volume.

Alzheimer’s Disease

EIT Health urges the health-care sector to embrace data and AI in the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease

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·         Currently 9.7 million people in Europe already live with Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia[1] – and this number is projected to rise to 14 million by 2030.[2]

·         EIT Health is calling for more use of technology when it comes to diagnosis and treatment, highlighting projects such as iLoF and Altoida that are successfully using AI and data to increase our chances of success in both research efforts and improving the management of Alzheimer’s.

·         In the past decade, a total of 400 major clinical trials to treat Alzheimer’s have failed,[3] with many due to difficulties related with invasive screening methods, challenges identifying suitable patients, and a need for tailored treatments for each biological profile.[4]

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To coincide with World Alzheimer’s Month, EIT Health, an EU-backed network of best-in-class health innovators, has highlighted the urgent need to focus on implementing bolder approaches to the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease post-pandemic.

As the European population ages, Alzheimer’s Disease is becoming one of the biggest diseases of the 21st century, but in spite of modern scientific endeavours including many protracted and expensive clinical trials, only one drug has been approved (in the United States) to treat Alzheimer’s Disease since 2003.[5]

Given the unprecedented pressure on healthcare systems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last 18 months, there are growing fears of the impact on current resources and services across the entire patient pathway; from time to diagnosis to end of life care.

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Earlier this year, the EIT Health Think Tank (European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)) released a report concluding that AI and digital solutions are urgently needed to help healthcare practitioners navigate the fallout from the pandemic – such as staff capacity, missed appointments and longer waiting lists for the provision of care.

Jan-Philipp Beck, CEO at EIT Health, said: “Alzheimer’s is one of the most difficult diseases to manage and support; it is highly complex and therefore we must use all of the tools at our disposal to tackle the existing and growing impact of this devastating condition. We can use technology to help us get smarter in our approach – big data and big data mining, AI, and other technologies can strengthen traditional approaches, and give us the best chances for success in areas such as risk and prediction of disease, clinical trials and drug discovery.

“The challenge of the pandemic has undoubtedly helped accelerate growth, adoption and scaling of technology such as AI, as healthcare providers and systems have both adapted to deliver care both rapidly and remotely. However, this momentum needs to be maintained to ensure that benefits are felt across all diseases, not just COVID-19.”

Harnessing data and AI can unlock new possibilities in research and the management of Alzheimer’s Disease. For example, EIT Health has supported companies such as Altoida and iLof who are  challenging traditional approaches to Alzheimer’s Disease with the aim of fast-tracking diagnosis and the drug discovery process.

EIT Health-backed Altoida has developed a non-invasive software device utilizing AI, to measure and monitor cognitive function to predict whether mild cognitive impairment will escalate to Alzheimer’s Disease. Diagnosing the condition early, before symptoms even begin to appear, allows clinicians to treat patients with the aim of delaying or lessening the impact of neurodegeneration. The device collects personalised brain data by asking users to complete a 10-minute set of augmented reality and motor activities on their smartphone or tablet. With this data, the device will use AI to predict if an individual aged 55+ with mild cognitive impairment will or will not convert to Alzheimer’s Disease within 12 months

In August,  Altoida was awarded US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) Breakthrough Designation for the development of the world’s first precision neurology device for the prediction of Alzheimer’s Disease. This designation is awarded to the most promising solutions in areas of strong clinical need and allows for an expedited regulatory process.

Also focused on Alzheimer’s is iLoF, winners of the EIT Health Wild Care programme 2019, who aim to revolutionise the complex clinical trial process and accelerate drug discovery.

Current methods of screening patients for clinical trials are lengthy, invasive and expensive, and the rates of patients either dropping out or being deemed ineligible are high. iLoF uses AI algorithms and photonics to non-invasively screen patients for trial eligibility and facilitate personalised and precision medicine in clinical trial design. The use of this intelligent platform will not only accelerate the development of new and personalised Alzheimer’s treatments and make them more economically viable but will also facilitate personalised and precisions medicine applications in other conditions. 

To read more about how EIT Health is supporting healthcare innovation, please click here.


About EIT Health

EIT Health is a network of best-in-class health innovators with approximately 150 partners and is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union. We collaborate across borders to deliver new solutions that can enable European citizens to live longer, healthier lives.

As Europeans tackle the challenge of increasing chronic diseases and multi-morbidity and seek to realise the opportunities that technology offers to move beyond conventional approaches to treatment, prevention and healthy lifestyles, we need thought leaders, innovators and efficient ways to bring innovative healthcare solutions to market.

EIT Health addresses these needs. We connect all relevant healthcare players across European borders – making sure to include all sides of the “knowledge triangle”, so that innovation can happen at the intersection of research, education and business for the benefit of citizens.

EIT Health: Together for healthy lives in Europe. For more information, click here.

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Health

€30 billion European Health Emergency Authority in place by start of 2022

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Today (16 September), the European Commission launched what it describes as the missing block in its overall architecture in its European Health Union, a Health Emergency preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to health emergencies.

Health Commissioner Kyriakides said that it was clear from the pandemic that people wanted the EU to do more. While the EU is now the most vaccinated continent on the planet and its vaccine roll out has been largely successful, Kyriakides said that the actions at the time were ad hoc and the pandemic had shown that a more structured approach is needed. 

Margaritis Schinas, Commission vice president, laid out the background and what he described as the “prophets of doom” trying to convince Europeans that it would not succeed, holding up a frontpage from The Economist showing a tattered European flag, at the top of a syringe, with the heading: “What has gone wrong?” The magazine was from April this year. 

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The EU’s slow start to vaccination at the beginning of the year was largely due to AstraZeneca’s (AZ) failure to respect its Advanced Purchase Agreement. A Belgian court later found in the EU’s favour declaring that AZ had intentionally breached the “best reasonable efforts” and the contractual warranty it gave.

At the start of the pandemic the EU had to take rapid decisions, despite an absence of competency and with the challenge of taking a common approach. It is hoped that the new authority will help overcome the challenges it faced to activate emergency funding and negotiate, procure and distribute medical supplies and vaccines on behalf of its member states. The new structure is designed to learn the lessons and build a more resilient system that is also able to look at other major threats, not just new variants of COVID-19 but other health challenges such as growing anti-microbial resistance to antibiotics. 

HERA is not a new EU agency, but an internal Commission structure, this is partly about ensuring it is fully operational by early 2022. A senior Commission official explained that this was so that it could be set up without delay. The Commission will involve the European Parliament closely in its operation, this is described in an additional decision. 

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HERA has access to  €30 billion, it will not require new money as such, but will draw its funding from the current Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2022-2027, including the NextGenerationEU top-up (€6bn) and an estimated (€24bn) from other 

EU programmes. Its functioning will be reviewed and adapted on an annual basis until 2025, when a full review will be carried out.

“HERA has a clear mission: ensuring the availability, access and distribution of medical countermeasures in the Union,” said Schinas. “HERA is the EU's response for both anticipating and managing emergencies. HERA will have the clout and budget to work with industry, medical experts, researchers and our global partners to make sure critical equipment, medicines and vaccines are swiftly available when and as necessary.”

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said: “With HERA, we draw the lessons learned from the crisis: we cannot ensure our citizens' health without industrial capacity in the EU and well-functioning supply chains. We succeeded in upgrading COVID-19 vaccine production in record time, for Europe and the rest of the world. But we need to be better prepared for future health crises. HERA will establish new, adaptable production capacities and secure supply chains to help Europe react fast when needed.”

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Cancer

EAPM: Headline event on the crest of a wave in fight against cancer!

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Good afternoon, health colleagues, and welcome to the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine (EAPM) update – the upcoming EAPM event is tomorrow, 17 September! It’s called ‘The need for change: Defining the health-care ecosystem to determine value’ and it will take place during the ESMO Congress, details below, writes EAPM Executive Director Denis Horgan.

Cancer screening, cancer priorities at the political level

The EAPM event comes at a propitious time for forward progress on cancer - Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced a new initiative to update a 17-year-old Council recommendation on cancer screening. The new 2022 initiatives were proposed in a letter of intent published during the president’s State of the Union address yesterday (15 September).  

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In addition, political party the EPP has made clear its cancer policy priorities in a 15-point programme. The policy document outlines proposed amendments to the Cancer Committee’s own initiative report. This, along with reform of the cross border health care directive — which in theory allows for patients in one member country to be treated in another — and data sharing being key to applying artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to research, and to enable the digital transformation of health care, have been issues very much at the forefront of EAPM’s recent work, to tackle disparities in cancer prevention, use of data, diagnosis, and treatment around Europe. 

The event will take place from 8h30–16h CET tomorrow; here is the link to register and here is the link to the agenda

Parliament passes two more European Health Union files

Two more European Health Union proposals will move to trilogues after passing in the Parliament’s plenary today (16 September). The proposals for the regulation on serious cross-border health threats passed with 594 votes in favor, 85 against and 16 abstentions. Meanwhile, the mandate change for the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Council (ECDC) passed with 598 votes in favor, 84 against and 13 abstentions.

The first proposal to increase the mandate of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is already in trilogues. The second meeting will be held later this month.

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Data Governance Act

In preparation of a proposal for a new Data Act expected by December 2021, the European Commission has opened a public consultation.

The main objective of this initiative is to support data sharing within the EU economy, in particular business-to-business and business-to-government, with a horizontal scope (e.g., covering industrial data, Internet of Things, etc.). 

It aims at complementing other data-related files, such as the Data Governance Act, the GDPR and ePrivacy Regulation, Competition Law (e.g. the Horizontal Cooperation Guidelines) and the Digital Markets Act. As reported in politico, this will be tackled by deputy ambassadors in Coreper I on 1 October. An EU official familiar with the process said a few countries asked for minor changes on data intermediaries and international data transfers.

‘Risky’ artificial intelligence 

The U.N. human rights chief is calling for a moratorium on the use of artificial intelligence technology that poses a serious risk to human rights, including face-scanning systems that track people in public spaces. Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, also said Wednesday that countries should expressly ban AI applications which don’t comply with international human rights law. Applications that should be prohibited include government “social scoring” systems that judge people based on their behavior and certain AI-based tools that categorize people into clusters such as by ethnicity or gender. 

AI-based technologies can be a force for good but they can also “have negative, even catastrophic, effects if they are used without sufficient regard to how they affect people’s human rights,” Bachelet said in a statement. 

Her comments came along with a new U.N. report that examines how countries and businesses have rushed into applying AI systems that affect people’s lives and livelihoods without setting up proper safeguards to prevent discrimination and other harms. “This is not about not having AI,” Peggy Hicks, the rights office’s director of thematic engagement, told journalists as she presented the report in Geneva. “It’s about recognizing that if AI is going to be used in these human rights — very critical — function areas, that it’s got to be done the right way. And we simply haven’t yet put in place a framework that ensures that happens.”

EU digital targets for 2030

The Commission has proposed a plan to monitor how EU countries move forward on the bloc’s digital targets for 2030. The EU will promote its human-centred digital agenda on the global stage and promote alignment or convergence with EU norms and standards. It will also ensure the security and resilience of its digital supply chains and deliver global solutions. 

These will be achieved by setting a toolbox combining regulatory cooperation, addressing capacity building and skills, investment in international co-operation and research partnerships, designing digital economy packages financed through initiatives that bring together the EU and combining EU internal investments and external co-operation instruments investing in improved connectivity with the EU’s partners. The Commission will soon launch a wide-ranging discussion and consultation process, including with citizens, on the EU vision and the digital principles.

EIB backs money for vaccines 

The European Investment Bank’s (EIB) board of directors have approved €647 million to help countries buy and distribute COVID-19 vaccines and other health projects. Vaccine distribution will benefit Argentina, as well as South Asian countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. At the start of the crisis, European Investment Bank staff started working on the health emergency and the economic downturn at the same time. The Bank divided its support for biotechnology and medical companies into three main sectors: vaccines, therapies and diagnostics. The aim: to track infections, stop the spread of the disease and care for those who get sick.

Earlier this year, the Bank approved €5 billion in new financing to support urgent action in fields such as health care and medical innovation for COVID-19. Since then, more than 40 biotechnology or medical companies and projects have been approved for EIB financing worth about €1.2 billion. This put the Bank at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.

The European Investment Bank is also backing global programmes to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, especially in the developing world. For example, the Bank recently approved a €400 million deal with COVAX, a global initiative supported by hundreds of countries, the private sector and philanthropic organisations to promote equal access to a vaccine.

Good news to finish - Coronavirus vaccines cut risk of long Covid, study finds 

Being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 not only cuts the risk of catching it, but also of an infection turning into long Covid, research led by King's College London suggests. It shows that in the minority of people who get Covid despite two jabs, the odds of developing symptoms lasting longer than four weeks are cut by 50%. This is compared with people who are not vaccinated. 

So far, 78.9% of over-16s in the UK have had two doses of a Covid vaccine. Many people who get Covid recover within four weeks but some have symptoms that continue or develop for weeks and months after the initial infection - sometimes known as long Covid. It can happen after people experience even mild coronavirus symptoms. The researchers, whose work was published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, say it is clear that vaccinations are saving lives and preventing serious illness, but the impact of vaccines on developing long-lasting illness has been less certain.

That is all from EAPM for this week – we look forward very much to the event tomorrow, and will be reporting on it next week. Until then, stay safe, well, and here is the link to register and here is the link to the agenda

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