SAUDI ARABIA – American multinational food and beverage giant PepsiCo is investing over SAR 200 million (approx. $53.3 million) in its snacks facility in Dammam, Saudi Arabia to meet growing local and export demand. 

The owner of Lays potato chips brand said the move is part of its ‘Saudi Arabia Vision 2023’ goal to “enhance the Saudi agricultural sector and boost sustainable food production in the Kingdom”.  

The company which also owns Pepsi and Mountain Dew soft drink brands also added that the expansion aligns with its ‘pep+’ sustainability goals. 

The snacks plant which manufactures brands including Lay’s, Cheetos, Doritos, Quavers and Quaker Oats, in addition to local crisp brand Tasali was opened in 2014 as a 5,000 sq m manufacturing facility to service Middle Eastern markets. 

The expansion project is expected to be completed in 2024. 

Earlier this year, PepsiCo  started moving its senior leadership team from Dubai to Saudi Arabia as part of plans to relocate its Middle Eastern headquarters. 

Middle East CEO Aamer Sheikh moved from Dubai to Riyadh in January and said that other employees from the company’s “decision apparatus” would follow suit. 

 “It’s the first step in a long journey,” he told Al Arabiya English on the sidelines of the LEAP conference in Riyadh. 

 “But we’re committed to being part of the Saudi fabric. And you’ll see us more and more in the transformation that you see taking place in Saudi.” 

 A definitive date as to when the new headquarters would be established is yet to be made public but the Middle East boss has assured that the company is “working very closely with MISA [the Ministry of Investment] and the government to make sure that we can bring in the PepsiCo regional headquarters here.”