PepsiCo opens innovation center in Shanghai

by Eric Schroeder
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SHANGHAI, CHINA — PepsiCo, Inc. has opened a new food and beverage innovation center in Shanghai, the company’s largest research and development center outside of North America. The facility will serve as a hub of new product, packaging and equipment innovation for PepsiCo’s businesses throughout Asia, the company said.

The new facility is equipped with an advanced culinary center and test kitchens focused on developing and tailoring PepsiCo food and beverage brands for distinct, locally relevant taste preferences throughout the region. In addition, the facility will house a pilot manufacturing plant that will allow researchers to test new product ideas and support efforts to accelerate the pace of PepsiCo’s innovation in China and other growing Asian markets.

“Innovation has always fueled PepsiCo’s growth engine and enabled us to build a portfolio of great-tasting, convenient food and beverage brands that are loved by consumers around the globe,” said Saad Abdul-Latif, chief executive officer of PepsiCo Asia, Middle East & Africa. “The Shanghai facility is a game-changer for our business that we expect will fast forward our innovation throughout the entire region.”

Mehmood Khan, executive vice-president and chief scientific officer at PepsiCo, said the new facility continues PepsiCo’s commitment to differentiating brands in the marketplace and driving attractive new growth opportunities.

“This center will play an important role in our global R.&D. network by bringing cutting edge technology and innovation to our businesses in China and throughout Asia Pacific and partnering with other PepsiCo locations to achieve new breakthroughs in other parts of the world,” Mr. Khan said.

PepsiCo said the new facility will key on developing locally relevant products. Some of the company’s recently developed products in the Asian market include: cucumber and ice lemon tea Lay’s potato chip flavors; sour plum and peach flavored Mirinda soft drinks; Quaker Oats for Rice and Quaker Congees, made with whole grain oats and locally relevant ingredients like red dates, wolfberry and white fungus; and Tropicana Pulp Sacs juice drinks.

The opening of the new R.&D. center and pilot manufacturing plant in Shanghai is the latest in a series of steps PepsiCo has taken to strengthen its business across Asia in 2012. Earlier this year, the company completed a strategic beverage alliance with Tingyi to create the No. 1 liquid refreshment beverage system in China and opened new beverage manufacturing plants in Kunming and Zhengzhou, China. PepsiCo also has opened a Frito-Lay manufacturing plant in Wuhan, China, and signed an agreement to form a strategic beverage alliance with Suntory in Vietnam, where PepsiCo is one of the leading liquid refreshment beverage companies.
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