Environmental Leadership - FDF Award 2017

The food and drink community celebrated success on 21 September 2017 as the winners of the Food and Drink Federation Awards were announced.

PepsiCo UK - 50 in 5 project

PepsiCo UK's “50 in 5 project” aimed to halve the water and carbon used to grow the potatoes that make Walkers crisps in water stressed areas. The project ran from 2010 to 2016 and its goal was achieved by a coalition of experts and academics from ADAS, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Aberdeen working alongside British potato farmers. They adopted innovative technology and farming techniques to manage the impact of climate change more effectively.

PepsiCo UK is the second biggest buyer of potatoes in the UK and has built long-term relationships with its growers. In order to secure its future supply chain in the face of climate change, the company realised that collaboration for sustainable farming was critical. A review of the Walkers supply chain found that the potato growing was a significant contributor to its carbon footprint.

In order to reach its water and carbon goals, the company partnered with experts and academics to develop and implement pioneering sustainable farming tools to measure water and carbon. iCrop is used to precisely measure soil moisture levels and thus use just the right amount of water, while the Cool Farm Tool measures the carbon per tonne of raw potato. They worked with almost 100 potatoes farmers over the length of the project, helping to reduce use and emissions through more environmentally sustainable systems or alternatives.

These farmers have continued to use the technology even beyond the formal collaboration and the tools that were developed are now available to farmers free of charge. Their other markets in Europe are also exploring how they can build on what we learnt with this project, and the company is also considering how to transfer this technology for other crops.

More information

Last reviewed: 21 Sep 2016