PepsiCo flags up 'green' technology to extract water from potatoes

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Water, Lay's

PepsiCo flags up 'green' technology to extract water from potatoes
Technology to extract water from potatoes for reuse in processing will go some way to helping PepsiCo UK and Ireland achieve its pledge of unplugging its largest sites from the water mains by 2018, said the snack maker in a new report.

And the producer of the Walkers crisp brand, in its dissemination of its progress on its original environmental sustainability pledges, said it hopes to scale up the innovative technology and share it with its developing markets.

“Typically 80 per cent of a potato is water. Previously this water was lost during the cooking process but we are now looking at how to capture this water and use it to clean potatoes before they are cooked.

Once perfected, we will begin rolling out this technology to our four crisp manufacturing sites,”​ reports the snack and beverage producer in its 'green' goals review.

PepsiCo UK claims its strategy to take its main manufacturing sites off the water grid by 2018 is two-fold - reducing how much water its uses to make its products and changing where it sources its water from.

“We are continuously trialling new technologies to reduce water use and to identify opportunities to use re-circulated or recycled water instead of fresh water," ​said the group.

And Walter Todd, VP of operations for PepsiCo UK & Ireland stressed: "Water is the poor second cousin of carbon. In the UK I do believe that unless you can show you are a responsible water steward from an agricultural and manufacturing perspective there are areas in the UK that will limit your ability to operate."

The environmental goals publication also demonstrates innovative approaches to cutting back on water usage during production such as using recycled water instead of fresh water to peel and slice potatoes for its Walkers crisps line as well as “re-plumbing” its Boxford Haith apple polisher to use recycled water saved 3,000 litres of water per shift.

And the Quaker Oats producer said progress was shown in 2009 when it cut consumption by 14.6 per cent as part of its three year target to reduce water use by 45 per cent reduction by the end of 2011.

In terms of water usage at the growing stage, PepsiCo said it is engaging with its UK farmers to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in water impacts in water stressed areas by 2015.

The manufacturer added that to anticipate potential problems, it has mapped all of its European sites and crop growing locations using the WBCSD Global Water tool, as well as other indicators.

“These have allowed us to identify and prioritise which sites or regions require detailed investigations to understand the impact our water use has on local watersheds. Our goal is consciously to mitigate or manage water risks,”​ stressed PepsiCo.

The snack and soft drink maker employs over 5,500 people across the UK and Ireland, with 18 manufacturing, distribution and corporate sites in the UK and Europe, including the largest crisp manufacturing plants in the world, located at Leicester.

The report can be downloaded here​.

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