PepsiCo Initiative Seeks To Influence Farm Practices Worldwide

PepsiCo recently unveiled its plan to roll out what it’s calling the “i-crop farming technology, a crop management system that will enable PepsiCo’s farmers around the world to monitor, manage and reduce their water use and carbon emissions, while also maximizing potential yield and quality.on a global basis. The web-based tool, which was developed by PepsiCo in conjunction with Cambridge University, United Kingdom, is Trials of i-crop are currently underway at 22 farms in the U.K., where PepsiCo yesterday announced ambitious plans to reduce carbon emissions and water usage by 50 percent across the farming of its core crops in the next five years.

The technology will be rolled-out in European countries in 2011, including Holland, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Turkey. The company hopes to take it to India, China, Mexico and Australia by 2012.

As one of the world’s largest food and beverage businesses, with brands including Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola and Frito-Lay, PepsiCo is a major investor in global farming. In 2010, the company announced 15 global goals and commitments to guide its work to protect the Earth’s natural resources through innovation and more efficient use of land, energy, water and packaging.

In the U.K., the company is the largest purchaser of British potatoes and one of the largest purchasers of British oats and apples, using 100 percent British produce in Walkers crisps, Copella English Apple juice, Quaker Oats, Oatso Simple and Scott’s porage.

Richard Evans, President of PepsiCo U.K. and Ireland said, “Farming is in the DNA of our business – we rely on fresh produce every day. Finding ways to produce more food with less environmental impact is essential to our future.” He added, “i-crop has the potential to revolutionize the way we farm, enabling our farmers to save costs and water and carbon consumption, while at the same time improving their yields. I am immensely proud of this innovation which I hope will also benefit PepsiCo farmers around the world.”

In its first Sustainable Farming Report published yesterday, PepsiCo U.K. outlined how it is working in partnership with its 350 British farmers to reach its aim of ’50 in 5′. Other initiatives announced include trials of new low-carbon fertilizers and plans to replace more than 75 percent of PepsiCo U.K.’s current potato stock with varieties that will significantly improve farmers’ yields and decrease wastage by 2015. A full copy of the report is available for download at www.pepsico.co.uk/farming.

Commenting on the PepsiCo U.K. sustainable farming report, Richard Perkins, Senior Commodities Adviser at WWF said, “The food industry is starting to recognize that in order to fully embed sustainability and biodiversity in its business practices, a large part of the focus must be on the agricultural supply chain. In this respect PepsiCo U.K. has taken a leadership role in recognizing that it is, at its heart, an agricultural business. The focus of the business on improving its key environmental impacts, such as greenhouse gas emissions — in the field and on the farm — is most welcome.”

For further information about i-crop visit the website at www.i-crop.com.

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