11/27/2017 16h09

PepsiCo opens R&D center in Brazil focused on biodiversity

With the new center, the company seeks to bring more diversity to its portfolio, both regionally and globally, with grains, roots and fruits native to the region – also known and consumed in other countries

Investe São Paulo

PepsiCo announces the opening of its first R&D center in the world, specializing in foods made from ingredients originating in South America. Located in Sorocaba (SP), the new R&D Center will develop solutions for the categories Snacks, Cookies & Crackers, Dairy Products, Grains and Beverages.

The US$ 25 million investment emphasizes PepsiCo’s vision and business strategy, Performance with Purpose, and the belief that the success of the company is inextricably linked to the sustainability of the world we share. The R&D Center in Sorocaba is in line with PepsiCo’s goals of making food and beverages more nutritious, the food system more sustainable, and the communities more prosperous.

PepsiCo plans to improve its health and wellness strategy for the years to come, as the R&D Center focuses on products for its Nutrition portfolio, including those that provide whole grains, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, protein and hydration. The R&D Center in Sorocaba will enable the development of products that celebrate the biodiversity of the region: ingredients such as cassava, yam and açaí, which are already part of the diets in South America.

The complex covers 4,500 square meters and was built from scratch, with the support from Investe São Paulo (Investment Promotion Agency of the State of São Paulo) and initiated the tests in January.

The building features a sensory laboratory, experimental kitchens, a multi-category analytical laboratory, a pilot plant for Snacks and Nutrition, prototyping labs for Snacks/Dairy Products/Beverage and a world-class packaging laboratory. The Center employs 79 people, which includes nutrition and food engineering scientists, in addition to specialists from other areas.

“The investment to build one of PepsiCo’s global R&D centers in Brazil shows the country’s importance to the company. This center will make our Brazilian operation even more important for the region and enhance Brazil’s profile and potential in the global development and innovation of the company,” said João Campos, CEO of PepsiCo in Brazil.

“Brazil is uniquely positioned to act as a product development center for PepsiCo, not only for Brazil or Latin America, but globally,” said Carmela Rivero, Global R&D vice president for Latin America. The executive adds: “Brazil is home to the largest biodiversity in the region, which includes many of the roots, tubers, grains and legumes consumed in many countries around the world. We will work hard to celebrate Brazil’s diversity, in a natural and cultural way, by delivering what PepsiCo does best, using our product development expertise to deliver delicious and nutritious options to our customers.”


Initiative connects Brazil to PepsiCo’s global innovation circuit

The R&D Center in Sorocaba is PepsiCo’s newest R&D center and the 9th to be designated as global innovation center of excellence. Latin America also has another center of excellence, in Monterrey, Mexico, which focuses on baking technologies.

Rivero says that, by developing its products, PepsiCo seeks to globalize its way of working, while respecting the local preferences. For this reason there is a seasoning team with people from various countries who determine the aromas of global brands. Likewise, the R&D area takes advantage of its global scale to develop new packaging technologies that meet increasingly demanding environmental sustainability and consumer standards. The R&D intelligence also takes advantage of the global scale to stimulate the discovery of products through culinary creation and process technology, which will distinguish PepsiCo products in the Brazilian market and around the world.


Food trend points to a larger nutritional portfolio

In addition to the product diversity, the new center will also feature technologies capable of processing local preferences and healthier cooking methods. Rivero explains: “Our idea now is to explore new flavors and textures. Imagine, for example, being able to process cassava and polenta into snacks or even develop new innovative products using beans, native fruits, sweet potatoes and mandioquinha (also known as arracacha). With the R&D Center in Sorocaba, all this will be possible,” says the executive.


Sustainable production chain

In Brazil, PepsiCo is one of the largest consumers of agricultural products: the company buys approximately 120,000 tons of potatoes, 20,000 tons of maize, 25,000 tons of oats and 27,0000 tons of coconut each year. This market of 192,000 tons defines the size of the business, the second largest operation of PepsiCo in Latin America.

As for the conscious use of South American biodiversity, PepsiCo believes that there will be a benefit not only for the company and the consumers, but also for farmers who are investing in local food crops. PepsiCo already has programs to encourage agriculture, such as the Agro Program, which offers technology exchanges, training and advice on sustainable management for partners. Since 1997, the Agro Program aims at establishing long-term partnerships with producers of local raw materials such as potatoes, oats, maize and coconuts and to make technological improvements in the field, as well as the exchange of experiences between producers. With a team dedicated to assist farmers, all stages of agricultural production are refined, from the selection of seeds to storage and transportation. The R&D Center in Sorocaba will also contribute to these partnerships.


Sustainable Operation

The commitment to sustainability is also reflected in the physical building of the new R&D center. The architectural design considered an analysis of the building position in relation to the sun, and uses high-tech solutions such as cables with low thermal loss. These efforts result in approximately a 45% reduction in the use of AC and a 60% energy savings.



PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than US$63 billion in net revenue in 2015, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that FRITO–LAY®, GATORADE®PEPSI-COLA®QUAKER® e TROPICANA®.  PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 22 brands that generate more than US$1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales. 

In Brazil since 1953, PepsiCo is one of the leading food and beverage companies in the country and operates in the market through favorite and recognized brands, such as QUAKER® (cereals, cereal bars and cookies), TODDY® (chocolate milk powder, chocolate milk ready to drink and cookies) , MÁGICO® (chocolate milk powder), TODDYNHO® (chocolate milk ready to drink), ELMA CHIPS® (popcorn, peanuts, wheat-based snacks), LUCKY®, TORCIDA®, RUFFLES®, DORITOS®, CHEETOS®, FANDANGOS® and FOFURA® (snacks), EQLIBRI™ and MABEL® (cookies), GATORADE® (sports drinks), LIPTON® Ice Tea (ready to drink iced tea, in partnership with Unilever), KERO COCO® and TROP COCO®  (coconut water), H2OH!®, MOUNTAIN DEW and PEPSI-COLA® (soft drinks), and DRINKFINITY® (portable and personal beverage system).

The company has 15 plants and approximately 100 sales branches located across Brazil and with the talent of more than 13,000 employees. Since 1997, the company has been in close partnership with Ambev – Companhia de Bebidas das Américas – for the production, sale and distribution of PEPSI®, H2OH!®, GATORADE®, LIPTON® Ice Tea and MOUNTAIN DEW®,  to more than one million of points of sale across the country.

At the heart of PepsiCo is Performance with Purpose – our fundamental belief that the success of our company is inextricably linked to the sustainability of the world around us. We believe that continuously improving the products we sell, operating responsibly to protect our planet and empowering people around the world is what enables PepsiCo to run a successful global company that creates long-term value for society and our shareholders.