SRODA SLASKA, POLAND — PepsiCo, Inc. on Aug. 26 broke ground on its largest and most sustainable food manufacturing plant in Europe.

PepsiCo said it will invest approximately $257.1 million in the facility, which will be the company’s fifth plant in Poland. The new plant will be equivalent to seven soccer fields in size and will be built in a 74-acre plot located in Swiete close to Sroda Slaska within the Legnica Special Economic Zone (Lower Silesia), PepsiCo said. It will be developed in stages with the full construction to be completed by 2025.

The snacks plant will provide the extra capacity to respond to the rapid growth in the company’s foods portfolio, which includes brands such as Lay’s fried and Oven Baked chips, as well as Doritos corn chips.

Products at the plant will be distributed domestically as well as exported to more than 20 countries, including Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

“We’ve been operating and investing in Poland for 30 years,” said Silviu Popovici, chief executive officer of PepsiCo Europe. “It is a great central hub as our food business grows in Central and Eastern Europe. But growth has to be sustainable. We want our plants to be the greenest, not only in Europe, but around the world. At Sroda Slaska we are re-imagining the future of food production. We want to create a model facility for sustainability in Europe.”

To accomplish this goal, PepsiCo said the new plant will be built with sustainability at its core and based on green design principles. All PepsiCo’s manufacturing in Poland already uses 100% renewable electricity, but the new plant will take the company’s efforts even further. According to PepsiCo, the new facility will be fully self-sufficient generating energy via solar panels, with plans to introduce an onsite solar farm in the future.  Heating, cooling and water at the site also will be reused and rainwater will be collected for use on-site. Additionally, leftover potato peelings will be used in a special biomass generator to help power the plant and then afterwards they will be converted into a low carbon fertilizer that will be provided to farmers to help grow the company’s next crop, the company said.  

“We are proud that the new project will make use of the latest green technologies,” said Michal Jaszczyk, CEO of PepsiCo Poland. “We are already using 100% wind energy to power all four of the existing plants and the HQ in Warsaw, with additional solar panels placed in selected manufacturing plants, e.g. in Michrow and the central warehouse in Mszczonow. These innovations will make Sroda Slaska carbon neutral by 2035.”

PepsiCo said it plans to source crops for the new manufacturing plant from Polish farmers working in close collaboration with PepsiCo under the Polish Sustainable Farming Program. The program was initiated 28 years ago, and currently PepsiCo sources more than 230,000 tons of sustainably grown potatoes each year. This volume is expected to grow by 60,000 tons per year by 2023. In addition, the company will initiate new relationships for corn supplies, seeking to source up to 30,000 tons of corn for the manufacture of Doritos chips by 2027.