Both companies will hold an equal share of the venture, which will produce fresh dips and spreads like hummus, salsa and babaganoush under the Strauss Group's existing Sabra label. Frito-Lay has made PepsiCo the world's leading supplier of snack foods, with the latest move highlighting the growing importance of healthier snacking options for manufacturers. Both groups were unable to divulge further details about the deal, which they expect to conclude in early 2008. Frito-Lay spokesperson, Aurora Gonzalez told BakeryandSnacks.com that the joint venture will operate solely within North America. However, she added that the company's increasing drive towards more health-focused brands reflected parent company PepsiCo's global move to expand into new markets for more nutritious snacks and beverages. In an attempt therefore to meet these aims, Frito Lay will combine its own experience in the distribution and manufacture of snacks with Sabra, which it claims is the leading hummus and fresh dips brand in the US. Hummus is a chickpea-based dip and spread originating from the Mediterranean, an area increasingly linked to healthy dieting. Sabra claims that its products are additionally made from healthier oils and are also free of trans fat and cholesterol present in other snacks. The joint-venture will also produce and distribute Sabra's Mediterranean salsa and babaganoush spreads - a product derived from egg-plant. Al Carey, president of Frito Lay North America, said the venture was an important step for Pepsi's company-wide healthier focus. "Sabra is already the leader in hummus, and I anticipate other Sabra fresh dips and spreads to make a similar positive impact on consumers," he stated. According to the Strauss Group, the products are already popular in the North-eastern US and Florida, through its current distribution of independent distributors and its own store-delivery system. Group president Erez Vigodman said that working with Frito-Lay would allow the company to further expand its presence in the country, meeting consumer demands in both the US and Canada for healthier and fresher snacks.