Feb. 23/The Dallas Morning News--Wall Street has been enthralled recently with the double-digit growth overseas of the snack and beverage business of PepsiCo.

But a company executive said Thursday that innovation and increased productivity in North America -- including areas served by Plano-based Frito-Lay Inc. -- will help fuel growth, too.

"I'm very optimistic about the growth prospects for international," said John Compton, chief executive of PepsiCo North America, which includes PepsiCo beverages, Frito-Lay and Quaker Foods.

"The promise of North America is equally exciting," he said. "Our portfolio is loaded with premium health and wellness innovation."

Earlier this month, PepsiCo, based in Purchase, N.Y., reported a 26% boost in fourth-quarter operating profit and a 21% gain for the year for PepsiCo International.

Fourth-quarter operating profit for PepsiCo Beverages North America sank 9%. Frito-Lay and Quaker posted single-digit gains in operating profit for both the quarter and the year.

"PepsiCo International revenues were up a strong 16% versus our 13% to 15% forecast," John Faucher, an analyst with J.P. Morgan Securities, said in a note to investors. "Solid volume growth was balanced with snacks and beverages increasing 13% and 12%, respectively."

Compton, who spent 20 years at Frito-Lay, noted that North American business accounts for 63% of PepsiCo revenue and 73% of total division operating profit.

Speaking at an analyst meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz., he said the company has benefited from strong growth recently in some of its marquee brands and newer options that appeal to health-conscious consumers.

After starting 2006 with a lagging sales performance, the Doritos brand saw sales pick up in the last several weeks, said Compton, noting the impact of popular consumer-produced commercials for the tortilla snack chip.

He said the amount of product sold grew 12% in January at major retailers, not counting Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Last year, Frito-Lay introduced Baked Tostitos Scoops and an all-natural picante sauce aimed at snackers seeking healthier options.

"Lay's, Doritos and Tostitos all are getting core improvements, and they're all performing well," he said.

Frito-Lay recently launched Flat Earth, a line of fruit- and vegetable-based chips, which the company plans to promote largely through sampling rather than TV ads.

Both PepsiCo and Cadbury Schweppes PLC, which also made a presentation to analysts at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference, are expanding offerings in ready-to-drink teas.

PepsiCo has partnered with Unilever PLC, which makes Lipton teas. Todd Stitzer, chief executive of the company that owns Plano-based Cadbury Schweppes America's Beverages, said the company would work to boost sales of its Snapple green, white and red teas.

Also this summer, PepsiCo plans to launch Diet Pepsi Max, a cola with ginseng and extra caffeine.