Saturday, February 4, 2023

PepsiCo opens its first UK oat testing lab

In a UK first for PepsiCo, a new research lab dedicated to testing oats from its innovative R&D agricultural science programmes has formally opened in partnership with NIAB. The facility aims to help the 300+ UK Quaker Oats growers produce the best possible oats while reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and maximising yield, meeting future demand for Quaker products.

The new laboratory, located at crop research organisation NIAB in Cambridge, is home to state-of-the-art grain quality testing facilities. Expert crop researchers will now use the facilities to test and analyse thousands of oat samples from regenerative agricultural trials for milling and nutritional requirements.

This move follows PepsiCo’s long-standing partnership with NIAB who work to improve agricultural and horticultural crop production, bringing together the specialist knowledge, skills and facilities required to understand the performance and quality of agricultural crop varieties and seeds.

The data collected from the lab will feed into PepsiCo research projects including the company’s Opti-Oat Crop Intelligence programme which offers information and insights on how to grow the perfect oat in its Oat Growth Guide, part of the Opti-Oat initiative which aims to deliver a 5-10% increase in yield while contributing to more sustainable crop production.

Peter Bright, senior scientist at PepsiCo UK, said: “Growers are facing pressure on several fronts, with issues like extreme weather and rising costs of materials like fertiliser, making it more difficult for them to grow their crops. With the new testing facility, we want to support growers by giving them useful data and insights that can help optimise their yield and produce the best quality Quaker Oats, while protecting the planet by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

“With over 100,000 tonnes of oats going through our mill in Scotland every year, it’s really important that we support our growers to meet growing consumer demand for Quaker Oats in a sustainable way. Our dedicated oat quality testing facility is a win for PepsiCo, NIAB, our growers and ultimately our consumers through producing the best quality Quaker Oats whilst delivering against our PepsiCo Positive goals.”

Helen Appleyard, head of analytical services at NIAB, added: “Setting up this facility with PepsiCo has been fantastic and we have benefitted from each other’s knowledge and experience in the industry. PepsiCo’s investment has improved our shared spaces and equipment, generated new ideas for ways of working and staff training opportunities, including better knowledge of the oat crop from field to bowl.”

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