PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP) reported earnings before the opening bell on Thursday. Here's what you need to know about the company's results.

Solid earnings growth
The beverage and snack-food giant's first-quarter profits came in at $0.83 per share, $0.08 more than analysts had pegged. Global snack-food volume rose 2% while beverages were flat from a year ago. PepsiCo's first-quarter sales of $12.6 billion were unchanged from the year-ago quarter, but better than analysts' expected $12.4 billion. Shares of the salty-snack and beverage maker were up slightly in midday trading.

Fizzling soda consumption helped by salty-snack growth
Americans consume less soda than they did a decade ago, a growing problem for all soft-drink manufacturers. PepsiCo isn't immune to the declining soda consumption trend, but it derives more than half its revenues from its snack business, which makes up two-thirds of the company's revenue growth.

Particularly strong-performing segments for the first quarter included Frito-Lay North America and PepsiCo Americas Food, which saw organic revenues grow 4% and 5%, respectively. PepsiCo's important developing and emerging markets posted 9% organic revenue growth, with strong growth in Brazil, Russia, Turkey, India, Egypt, and Pakistan.  

Looking ahead
For full-year 2014, the maker of Gatorade, Tropicana, and Quaker Oats expects productivity savings of roughly $1 billion. PepsiCo said it would return $8.7 billion to shareholders in 2014 through $5 billion in share repurchases and $3.7 billion in dividends. Its stock currently pays a dividend yield of 2.7%. 

Foolish takeaway
Today's earnings release shows that PepsiCo's beverage and salty-snack businesses boast plenty of attractive long-term growth opportunities. For the patient investor, PepsiCo still holds a great deal of promise.