PepsiCo says it will move its best, brightest scientists to Research Camps
By Emily Ford
KANNAPOLISóPepsiCo will open a scientific lab at the N.C. Research Campus to find ways to make its products healthier and more nutritious.
While soda doesn’t seem to fit with campus founder David Murdock’s goal to improve human nutrition, PepsiCo also owns the more healthful brands Tropicana, Quaker Foods and Gatorade.
PepsiCo wants to make its products “not only desirable but healthy and nourishing” and joined the Research Campus to “stay ahead of the game,” said Dr. Mehmood Khan, chief scientific officer.
PepsiCo will move its “brightest and best scientists” to the Research Campus, Khan said.
Campus officials mentioned possible collaborations between PepsiCo and the universities with research programs in Kannapolis.
PepsiCo will lease 4,000 square feet in the Core Laboratory Building, which opened Monday along with two other buildings that will house branches of seven public universities.
PepsiCo previously had announced a new commitment to longterm research and development in the wake of a 10 percent decline in third-quarter net income that led to 3,300 layoffs and six plants closings.
Khan said it’s too early to say how many jobs the lab in Kannapolis will create. The company has not yet named a director.
Murdock, the billionaire owner of Dole Food Co., said he also courted Coca Cola Co., but “Pepsi got here first.”
PepsiCo already has a relationship with Dole Food. The company’s North American non-carbonated beverage portfolio includes Dole single-serve juices.