PepsiCo delves into “reshaping healthy snacking” strategy amid US$256M investment in super European plant
27 Aug 2021 --- As part of PepsiCo’s healthy snacking focus, the company plans to invest US$256 million in a Poland-based food manufacturing plant – its largest and most sustainable in Europe. PepsiCo aims to increase sales of healthy snacks, making it the fastest-growing category in the next four years.
The company also expects to expand healthy snacking to a US$1 billion portfolio by 2030.
Reacting to increasing demands in the markets of Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary, the plant will manufacture a range of PepsiCo’s snacks, including Lay’s fried and oven-baked and Doritos.
The plant will export to over 20 European countries and is slated for completion in 2025, with further aims to be fully carbon neutral by 2035.
“We have been operating and investing in Poland for 30 years and already have an established networkof four plants exporting to markets in Europe. Poland’s strategic geographic location offers a central location for production to meet consumer demand across Europe,” Michal Jaszczyk, general manager, PepsiCo Poland, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
Sustainable development is also important. Through this plant, PepsiCo will be significantly expanding its sustainable farming program in Poland.
“Poland also boasts a strong talent pool and offers high-quality agricultural raw materials, including corn, potatoes and sunflower oil. We already have a successful Agro Farming Program with over 80 Polish farmers, working with some for over 27 years. We’ll be looking to expand this through the new facility.”
“We recognize that to help improve the sustainability of the food system, growth must be sustainable. We’re proud that the new plant will be one of our greenest.”
Currently, PepsiCo sources over 230,000 tons of sustainably grown potatoes each year.
This volume is expected to grow by 60,000 tons per year by 2023. In addition, the company will initiate new relationships for corn supplies, seeking to source up to 30,000 tons of corn for the manufacture of Doritos chips by 2027.
Jaszczyk emphasizes how healthier snacking is core to PepsiCo’s growth and that consumers are at the heart of shaping its portfolio.
PepsiCo has learned from its success in growing sugar-free beverages.
“We are providing them (consumers) with a product choice to suit their changing needs and moments, whether that’s offering healthier snack options or indulgent moments. Within the PepsiCo portfolio, we have a snack for everyone. The core of the category remains around enjoyment, and our sliced crisps are an accessible, easy and tasty treat for people,” he continues.
“As part of this, we aim to increase sales of snacks rated a B or better in the Nutri-Score nutrition labeling system by more than 10 times by 2025. This will make healthier snacks our fastest-growing food category over the next four years.”
Nutri-Score is a nutritional label that evaluates the overall nutritional quality of food based on a five-color coded scale going from A to E.
Reducing fat in chips
Lay’s Oven Baked, which contains 50 percent less fat than regular chips, has already been launched in Poland.
“This product meets the consumer demand for healthier snacks while also delivering on taste, our customers’ most important demand,” adds Jaszczyk. “Our new facility will play a significant role as we continue to promote Lay’s Oven Baked and launch other new brands across Europe.”
A green hub of production
The new plant has been built with sustainability at its core and based on green design principles. All PepsiCo’s manufacturing in Poland already uses 100 percent renewable electricity. However, it is anticipated that this plant will go further.
Alongside low utility consumption, the facility will be fully self-sufficient, generating energy via solar panels, with plans to introduce an on-site solar farm in the future. Heating, cooling and water at the site will also be reused and rainwater will be collected for use on-site.
Even the potato waste from manufacturing will play a key role. “The leftover peelings will be used in a special biomass generator to help power the plant and then afterward they will be converted into a low carbon fertilizer which will be provided to farmers to help grow the company’s next crop,” Jaszczyk explains.
Planetary health trends
In addition, Jaszczyk underscores how consumers are demanding more sustainable brands and PepsiCo is rising to the challenge.
“Sustainability isn’t new to our business, but it is becoming ever more important as we face the global climate emergency,” he says. “We know we have a responsibility to use our scale and reduce our impact on the environment and also to help others do the same. We all need to do our part to help bring about a sustainable food system.”
What’s more, the success of our company and protecting our environment go hand-in-hand, so a focus on sustainability will always be a core part of our business strategy. Our new plant will reimagine the future of sustainable food production and our new project will make use of the latest green technologies,” he concludes.
By Gaynor Selby
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