Frito-Lay and Quaker open new Greenhouse Learning Center

April 10, 2023
The Learning Center will be used to field test, measure and analyze compostable packaging with an aim to speed up the rate of innovation.

Frito-Lay and Quaker announced the opening of an industry-leading Greenhouse Learning Center at its R&D headquarters. The Learning Center will be used to field test, measure and analyze compostable packaging with an aim to speed up the rate of innovation. This facility represents a key milestone to achieve the company's PepsiCo Positive (pep+) packaging goal to design 100% of packaging to be recyclable, compostable, biodegradable or reusable by 2025.

"Our sustainable packaging vision is to build a world where packaging need never becomes waste," Denise Lefebvre, senior vice president of R&D for PepsiCo, said in the announcement. "We're actively changing our own compostable snack packaging technologies. By sharing these technologies, we're inviting the industry to make these changes as well. We are prioritizing, investing in and expediting projects to build a more circular, inclusive economy."

The R&D packaging team will use the Greenhouse Learning Center to test the biodegradation properties of compostable packages in different environments to accelerate learnings, validate lab results through simultaneous, real-time experiments as packaging formulations are improved and iterate packaging solutions quicker.

The Learning Center is intended to enable packaging products to move from testing to certification-ready at least two to three times faster in an effort to drive the business and the entire industry forward. The new facility, the first of its kind across PepsiCo globally, is located next to and complements the existing prototyping lab where compostable packaging is born. It also aims to actively change industry standards by educating partners and stakeholders on the benefits of transitioning to compostable packaging, demonstrate circularity with biodegradable materials and provide training to co-ops and visitors.

The R&D team at Frito-Lay and Quaker has been conducting research and forming strategic partnerships for many years to improve the packaging process. After releasing the world's first 100% commercially compostable chip bags in 2010, Frito-Lay and Quaker continue to make progress in evolving its compostable packaging.

"We look forward to leveraging key findings from the Greenhouse Learning Center, alongside our scale, reach, and expertise across North America and globally, to drive progress across our organization and the entire industry," David Allen, chief sustainability officer, Frito-Lay and Quaker, said in the announcement. "We must work together to inspire positive change for the planet and people, and Frito-Lay and Quaker are proud to be leading the way."

Building on its learnings from the launch of Off The Eaten Path's next-generation, commercially compostable packaging, the company introduced other options made from 85% renewable plant materials that produce approximately 60% lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than traditional snack bags. Moving forward, the company will be focused on home-compostable packaging and packaging that's biodegradable, and research conducted at the Greenhouse will play a key role.


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