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Pepsi CFO the world has gone from 'a volatile place to an even more volatile place'

When PepsiCo released its better-than-expected earnings earlier Wednesday, some investors initially honed in on its conservative forecast.

"We certainly feel good about the way the business is performing, but I think it's fairly undeniable that the world has gone from a volatile place to an even more volatile place over the last six to nine months," Pepsico CFO Hugh Johnston told CNBC on "Squawk on the Street."

"So when we give guidance, we certainly look to give cautious guidance to ensure investors understand that we are committed to delivering our guidance and we'll see how the year progresses."

Pepsi said it expects 2017 organic revenue growth to be at least 3 percent and earnings per share growth of 8 percent. That means Pepsi's forecast calls earnings this year of $5.09 a share, which is shy of analyst expectations of $5.16, according to FactSet.

Despite beating Wall Street's fourth-quarter earnings expectations, shares of Pepsi fell as much as 2 percent Wednesday before recovering. The stock was flat in late morning trading.

The soft-drink company, which also owns Frito-Lay and Gatorade, posted earnings per share of $1.20 excluding items on $19.52 billion in revenue. Analysts had expected it to earn $1.16 per share on $19.51 billion in revenue.

High demand for healthier beverages and snacks in North America bolstered sales. Sales volume grew 3 percent globally for snacks and 1 percent for its beverages, the company reported.

Products that have grains, protein and fruit — dubbed its "everyday nutrition" — are more than double the size of the company's cola business, Johnston said. Pepsi's flagship cola business accounts for about 12 percent of sales, while "everyday nutrition" is 25 percent.

Earlier, on the company's earnings conference call, CEO Indra Nooyi said Pepsi will continue to innovate, having already increased its investment in research and development 45 percent since 2011, about $3.5 billion on food quality and safety initiatives.