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PepsiCo posted better than expected profits in the first quarter as the company’s shift towards healthier drinks and snacks gains steam.

The maker of Mountain Dew and Quaker oatmeal reported adjusted earnings of 94 cents a share, up from 89 cents a year ago, and beating consensus forecasts of 91 cents a share. Sales climbed 1.6 per cent to $12.05bn, matching Wall Street expectations.

The results came “despite challenging food and beverage industry trading conditions in North America”, said chief executive Indra Nooyi.

PepsiCo has been diversifying its products to meet demands from more health-conscious consumers, reducing its reliance on its namesake Pepsi brand, which accounts for about 12 per cent of total sales. In the past year it has introduced products such as probiotic versions of its Tropicana juices and has acquired Kevita — a maker of fermented tea drink kombucha and other beverages.

The fizzy drinks maker earlier this month drew ire across social media for an advert that depicted Kendall Jenner, the model, joining a protest and offering a police officer a can of Pepsi. Pepsi removed the commercial and apologised after being condemned for trivialising activism.

PepsiCo’s shares were down 1 per cent in pre-market trading. The stock has gained 9 per cent this year.

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