PepsiCo continues to struggle with sales of its soda in...

PepsiCo continues to struggle with sales of its soda in the United States. (Feb. 13, 2013) Credit: Bloomberg

PepsiCo is selling more of its snacks and drinks around the world, even as the maker of Frito-Lay, Tropicana and Quaker Oats tries to figure out how to sell more soda in the United States.

Purchase-based Pepsi Thursday reported a first-quarter profit that beat Wall Street expectations as it saw strong growth in emerging markets and benefited from a lower tax rate.

PepsiCo's North American snacks unit also saw gain.

For its beverage unit in the Americas, however, revenue was flat as price hikes offset a drop in volume.

"The cola category continues to be a challenge," CEO Indra Nooyi noted in a conference call with analysts.

PepsiCo has significantly stepped up marketing for its namesake drink, including an endorsement deal with Beyoncé. But it's struggling to win back market share from Coca-Cola Co. at a time when Americans are cutting back on soda in favor of other beverages.

For the quarter, PepsiCo earned $1.08 billion, or 69 cents per share. That's down from $1.13 billion, or 71 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 1 percent to $12.58 billion, beating analysts' prediction of $12.54 billion.

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