PepsiCo launches pep+ to guide renewed focus on sustainability, healthy foods

USA – American snack and food beverage giant PepsiCo has launched a new strategic plan dubbed pep+ (“pep positive”) which is aimed at refocusing the company’s key strategic goals around sustainability and production of healthier foods. 

According to a statement from the company, the pep+ will guide how PepsiCo improves its business operations, from sourcing ingredients using regenerative agriculture, to manufacturing, packaging, and selling its products in a more circular way. 

Under the new strategy, the maker of Lays and Doritos snack brands also plans to prioritize more on chickpeas, plant-based proteins, and whole grains, while reducing sodium and sugar.  

“Pep+ reflects a new business reality, where consumers are becoming more interested in the future of the planet and society,” says Ramon Laguarta, PepsiCo’s chairman and CEO. 

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“Pep+ will change our brands and how they win in the market,” he continues. “For example, imagine Lay’s will start with a potato grown sustainably on a regenerative field, and then be cooked and delivered from a net-zero and net water-positive supply chain, sold in a bio-compostable bag, with the lowest sodium levels in the market.” 

According to a statement from the company, Pep+ drives action and progress across three key pillars, bringing together several goals under a comprehensive framework. 

A three-pillar approach to Pep+ 

Under the first pillar, “Positive Agriculture,” PepsiCo is working to spread regenerative practices to restore the Earth across land equal to the company’s entire agricultural footprint (approximately seven million acres), while sustainably sourcing key crops and ingredients. 

Under PepsiCo’s second pillar, “Positive Value Chain,” the company aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040 and become net water-positive by 2030. 

The company also plans to introduce more sustainable packaging into the value chain including a new global goal to cut virgin plastic per serving by 50% across its food & beverage portfolio by 2030. 

A critical focus of driving a positive value chain has been on building a circular economy for packaging in Europe and the company has plans to switch to 100% recycled plastic bottles for brand Pepsi by 2022.  

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This follows a similar move for other brands last year, including Lipton Iced Tea, and is backed by the company’s support for Deposit Return Schemes in many European markets, to enable over 90% collection of beverage packaging. 

Under its third pillar, “Positive Choices,” PepsiCo is evolving its portfolio of F&B products so that they incorporate more diverse, sustainable, and nutritious ingredients in both new and existing food products.  

Last month, PepsiCo announced plans to invest US$256 million at a new Polish sustainable food manufacturing facility and is also planning to expand its position in the nuts & seeds category.

PepsiCo is also accelerating its reduction of added sugars and sodium through the use of science-based targets across its portfolio and cooking its food offerings with healthier oils. 

In its beverage portfolio, PepsiCo Europe is reducing the average level of added sugars by 50% and is on its way to building a US$1 billion portfolio of foods rated Nutri-Score B or better by 2030. 

The F&B giant is also looking to scale new beverage business models that require little or no single-use packaging, including its global SodaStream business which is currently bringing PepsiCo flavor options like Pepsi Zero Sugar, Lipton, and bubly to 23 markets. 

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