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Frito-Lay's 1996 marketing assault centers on the company's "Better for you" line, as the PepsiCo unit rapidly expands its reduced-fat offerings.

Frito-Lay has high hopes for low-fat, expecting the segment to generate $2 billion in sales, or one-third of total Frito-Lay revenue, by 1998. The company to date has kept a low marketing profile in healthy snacks but will break the silence next year with the first TV spots uniting a growing reduced-fat lineup, a Frito-Lay executive said.

The integrated campaign from DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago, bears the themeline, "2g.ood to be true," playing on the low-fat content per serving.

The marketing effort garnishes the $225 million investment Frito-Lay made in manufacturing facilities this year to accommodate production of reduced-fat snacks. As Nabisco Biscuit Co. pushes ahead with SnackWell's salty snacks and prepares to launch reduced-fat Healthy Choice crackers, Frito-Lay is flexing its product development and marketing prowess to corner healthy snacks as it has regular snacks, where Frito-Lay owns half of the $11.7 billion market.

Already enjoying brisk sales of Rold Gold pretzels and Baked Tostitos, Frito-Lay is testing reduced-fat Doritos and low-fat Smartfood Toffee Crunch to build the franchise, the executive said. Also on the agenda are skinny dips; Frito-Lay in the coming weeks will roll nationwide reduced-fat French Onion and Queso Cheese dips.

"The marketing effort will be much bigger next year," commanding much of Frito-Lay's total marketing budget, the executive said. The salty snack giant spent about $75 million in measured media in 1994. That figure doesn't include Frito-Lay's hefty promotional spending.

One promotion could pair the healthy chips and dips, a "combination they feel they can really develop," said PaineWebber analyst Manny Goldman. A Frito-Lay spokeswoman wouldn't comment on the healthy marketing push.

Lisa Greim contributed to this story.

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