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Baked Lay's Brand is Healthier Than What?
By: Cindy Wendland
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Frito-Lay introduced Baked Lay's in 1996 as a healthier potato chip in their Lay's brand. The packaging displays “baked” as the prominent part of the wording. The nutrition label displays less than three grams of total fat and no trans fat. Sounds good!

Potato chips are the largest group in the salty snack category. As healthy food choices became more important for consumers, Frito-Lay removed trans fat before the rest of the industry and changed how their chips were made. They now cook their chips in sunflower or corn oil. This is better, but using olive oil would be even healthier.

Frito-Lay has participated in health fairs with registered dieticians who claim that the potato chips are not junk food and the product is healthy. That seems to be going a bit too far. The nutrition label does show lower calories than potato chips used to have, and less fat. But the label also has lower numbers in all other categories except sodium. To market Baked Lay's as healthy is a stretch. They are healthier than some other potato chips, but still mostly contain empty calories.

For those who enjoy salty snacks, Baked Lay's is a good alternative over other chips such as Doritos. A good benchmark for whether a food is healthy is the number of ingredients. The ingredient list for a sweet potato is one. The ingredient list for Baked Lay's contains seven items while the number of ingredients for Doritos is 39. Again, the fewer number of ingredients, the healthier. For anyone wanting to eat healthy, potato chips are not a good option. Fruit, vegetables, or blue corn chips are a better choice.

Frito-Lay has marketed their brand of chips as healthier and convinced consumers they are healthier. So in the world of branding, that is a good thing. But healthier than what? There are some lawsuits over the nutrition label being misleading and a question of whether trans fats actually exist. In the big picture, potato chips are not healthy. Indulging in a small amount from time to time probably won’t be disastrous, but Baked Lay's are still a junk food.

   

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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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