PepsiCo Labs drives digital start-ups to unlock environmentally sustainability solutions – Food Ingredients First

01 Aug 2022 — PepsiCo is on track to elevate its supply chain in Europe and collaborate with start-ups to pilot new technologies which will boost environmentally sustainable solutions.

Six start-ups have been selected through a program focused on engaging the start-up community to bring emerging technologies to the fore. Over the next 12 months, PepsiCo plans to foster further collaborations as part of the project.

The program is being led by PepsiCo Labs. The team identifies and collaborates with breakthrough tech companies  to drive growth, unlock shared potential and develop solutions.

PepsiCo aims to scale the successful technologies across the supply chain during 2023 and beyond.

Accelerating positive change
Katharina Stenholm, chief sustainability officer at PepsiCo Europe, believes in the value of harnessing a digital future to accelerate positive change for people and the planet.

“We are responsible for using our resources efficiently and reducing our overall emissions, but we can’t do it alone. By embracing smart collaborations through PepsiCo Labs, we can unlock breakthrough solutions and play our part in scaling technology innovations. It’s part of our commitment to solving sustainability challenges across our supply chain and progressing PepsiCo Positive.”

The pilot launches will be taking place in locations across Europe, including Turkey, Belgium and Portugal, with trials focusing on four key areas:

Efficiency and automation
Turkey will trial Pulse Industrial and BrenPower monitors, which detect failures in steam traps through an AI system. The technologies aim to reduce carbon impact in PepsiCo factories by reducing steam losses and improving overall efficiency. 

Sustainable Cleaning & Hygiene TechnologyPepsiCo Labs has identified six start-up companies that could unlock sustainability solutions across the supply chain and plan to collaborate with more across the year.
Portugal will trial Ozo Innovations, which harnesses advanced electrochemical technology for smarter, safer hygiene in manufacturing plants. Ozo’s ‘elocube’ converts cold water and salt into a powerful combined cleaning and disinfecting solution by electrolysis. If successful, the technology will “revolutionize cleaning processes by reducing chemical, water and energy use.”

Using a patented conversion process, UBQ Materials turns unsorted household waste, including all organics and unrecyclable plastics, into a bio-based thermoplastic with a climate-positive footprint. PepsiCo will be trialing this new material in Lay’s display stands throughout Turkey, enabling the potential for further circularity.

Security Matters has developed an invisible ‘marker’ system enabling both physical and digital tracking to identify, track, and sort packaging waste, which is logged onto a blockchain system. PepsiCo will trial this technology to enable monitoring of closed-loop recycling, authentication of sustainability claims and improve waste sorting.

Water recovery
Elateq will be trialed in Belgium and provides electrochemical wastewater treatment to remove pathogens, organic and inorganic contaminants in water, using less energy. If successful, the technology will reduce the overall carbon footprint in PepsiCo factories and promote a circular water system.  

“PepsiCo Labs was launched to propel PepsiCo into the future. We aspire to lead in tech innovations by integrating start-up solutions globally,” explains David Schwartz, vice president of PepsiCo Labs.

“It is a privilege to collaborate with six innovative start-ups as they pilot new technologies and develop solutions that aim to solve the world’s sustainability challenges. We hope that by working together, we can accelerate the growth of these promising start-ups while putting sustainability and innovation at the heart of our business.”

Technology boosts sector
PepsiCo Labs has scaled over 30 start-ups across over 200 countries. This includes WINT technology, which successfully created a positive water impact in the supply chain.

The technology uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms to prevent water leaks in PepsiCo factories by using digital monitors to collect water flow data, which is then analyzed through pattern matching and machine learning. 

It is estimated that PepsiCo can cut annual water consumption by approximately 20-25% using WINT’s technology.  

This project is aligned with PepsiCo’s broader PepsiCo Positive (pep+) agenda; an end-to-end transformation announced last year. The work forms part of PepsiCo’s ambition to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 75% by 2030, which is on track according to PepsiCo’s ESG Summary.

Good for the planet
The company’s latest announcement follows PepsiCo’s recent target to achieve net zero by 2040 and to – ten years ahead of the Paris agreement – decarbonize its entire value chain.

Meanwhile, in packaging highlights, PepsiCo Europe revealed its plans to eliminate virgin fossil-based plastic in all of its chip bags by 2030. The food and beverage giant proposed using 100% recycled or renewable plastic instead, reducing greenhouse gasses from film packaging by up to 40% at the start of this year.

The company also urged policymakers to deliver specific targets for flexible packaging to drive collection, sorting and recycling.

By Elizabeth Green

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