PepsiCo opens its first UK oat testing lab in Cambridge

PepsiCo has formally opened a new research lab dedicated to testing oats from its R&D agricultural science programs in partnership with NIAB in what is a UK first for the brand.

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.

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.

The facility’s opening builds on PepsiCo’s trusted and close partnership with its 300+ Quaker Oats growers. This includes helping all UK Quaker Oat farmers to reach the LEAF Marque sustainability standard by rolling out regenerative agriculture practices which support improved biodiversity, soil health, water and air quality.

PepsiCo sees the move as highly significant as helping growers improve yield is more important than ever as Quaker Oats products continue to be firm favourites on breakfast tables, with the vast majority of its range outside of the HFSS category following extensive reformulation and new product development.

Peter Bright, senior scientist at PepsiCo UK, said with growers facing pressure from the weather to the rising costs of materials, it is more difficult to grow their crops.

The new testing facility will support growers by giving them “useful data and insights that can help optimise their yield and produce the best quality Quaker Oats”.

Bright added: “With over 100,000 metric 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.”

The new facility comes as the popularity of Quaker Oats continues to rise, with the Quaker Pots range growing by +13% MAT and Porridge To Go bars growing at +5.3% YTD TY . With health the no.1 need at breakfast 3, the hot cereals segment, which includes Quaker Oats, has also grown by +1.4% RSV YTD YoY, and accelerated by +2% RSV YoY Latest 12 weeks.

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