INDIA – PepsiCo India has unveiled plans of investing US$74.4 million (INR 5.14 billion) over the next three years to construct a new snacks manufacturing plant in Uttar Pradesh, India.

The producer of Lay’s, Cheetos, Doritos, Quaker, Kurkure and Uncle Chipps said that the new investment plan is part of the company’s goal to double its snacks business in India by 2022.

As part of the project, PepsiCo India said it will expand its backward integration with local farmers and help bring agricultural best practices to enable socio-economic growth for potato farmers in Uttar Pradesh.  The company will also set up a cold storage facility in the state.

PepsiCo India chief executive Ahmed ElSheikh said: “PepsiCo is committed to growing its food and beverage business sustainably in India. We have a long relationship with the people of Uttar Pradesh

“As we look to double our snacks business over the next few years, we intend to invest approximately Rs.514 crores (US$74.4  millon) to expand our footprint in Uttar Pradesh.

“Agriculture is at the heart of PepsiCo and our farmer friends are the backbone of our business. As we expand our operations, we will look forward to a fruitful association that will not only help create jobs and enable ancillary industries, but also ensure the socio-economic progress of potato farmers in the state.”

 “PepsiCo’s new facility, once finalised, will act as a hub to address the growing demand for our well-loved snacks products amongst consumers in the state and beyond,” he said.

Ahmed further noted that company will focus on expansion of its agro-based programme in the state, that will see the comany will provide seeds, technology, equipment, weather insurance, training and guidance to agronomists.

PepsiCo India currently sources all the potato used in Lay’s and Uncle Chipps from local farmers under its agri program through which it works with over 24,000 farmers across 13 states through various agriculture and sourcing initiatives.

According to the chief executive, the company’s requires 7,000,000 tonnes of potatoes.

Last year, PepsiCo India said it will reduce the amount of sodium included in its Lay’s crisps in India in order to promote healthier diet choices for consumers.