SHANGHAI, China -- PepsiCo Inc. has opened a food and beverage R&D center here that is said to be the company's largest outside North America. It will serve as a hub of new product, packaging and equipment for PepsiCo's businesses in Asia.
The facility is equipped with test kitchens focused on developing and tailoring its food and beverage brands for local taste preferences throughout the region.
In addition, it will house a pilot manufacturing plant that will allow researchers to quickly test product ideas and support efforts to accelerate the pace of PepsiCo's innovation in China and other growing Asian markets. PepsiCo said the Shanghai facility will also work with other PepsiCo R&D locations around the world.
PepsiCo has developed and launched a number of products tailored for Asian markets in recent years. Among them are Lay's chips in cucumber, hot and sour fish soup, and seaweed flavors, along with sour plum and peach flavored sodas under China's top-selling Mirinda brand.
The Purchase, NY-based beverage and snack giant nearly tripled its business in emerging and developing markets from $8 billion in annual net revenue in 2006 to $22 billion in 2011. It has focused on China and the Asia Pacific region as key targets for accelerated growth.
In 2012, PepsiCo completed a strategic beverage alliance with Tingyi and opened new beverage manufacturing plants in Kunming and Zhengzhou, China. The Tingyi-PepsiCo beverage system now has more than 70 manufacturing plants across China that produce several of the country's most popular beverages.
This year, PepsiCo also inked a distribution agreement with Diamond Star, one of the largest consumer packaged goods distributors in Myanmar, to distribute PepsiCo beverage brands in the market. It also formed a strategic beverage alliance with Suntory in Vietnam.
The company further bolstered its snack presence in China in 2012 with the opening of a new Frito-Lay manufacturing plant.