by Rick Lingle, Editor in Chief
Denise Lefebvre’s newly created position in June 2011 makes her responsible for
new package formats from concept through commercialization across PepsiCo’s
beverage business globally, sharing of Best Practices, technology transfer, and
identification of new technologies the company can use to drive either growth
or productivity throughout its business.
F&BP: What trends do you see in beverage packaging?
Lefebvre: As consumers move continually toward health and wellness, the
packaging requirements are becoming stricter than ever in terms of active
packaging, whether that be barrier, enhanced product protection or increased
functionality of some nature. While that’s always been a requirement, we’re
seeing it move to new heightened levels.
The second “lever” is design, which has long been a familiar theme, but is
taken to the next level in terms of packaging. What it can do for the consumer,
both functionally and how it pops on shelf to help sell
The last piece in packaging is sustainability, which is critical. I would tie
that in with localization. Consumers are really about getting to authentic
products that are local to them and knowing where everything comes from in the
Consumers understand sustainability and want it.
There is a “halo” effect to packaging and sustainability in that consumers want
something natural and authentic, but not overpackaged. Anything feeling much
more organic is very important for them and will continue for some
Also, the world of [carbonated soft drinks] has had historically great
graphics, but I see a big shift at better packaging graphics and structure coming
together in that category and others.
F&BP: PepsiCo is taking its PET bottle
development into rather unusual sources…what can you comment about
Lefebvre: The creation of a 100% plant-based PET bottle is a very exciting
program for us. We are currently using non-feedstock sources like switch grass
and pine bark, so we aren’t diverting otherwise usable food sources for our
product packaging. In the future we intend to broaden the renewable sources
used to create the bottle to include orange peels, potato peels, oat hulls and
other agricultural by-products from our foods business. The ability to
manufacture our packaging through a closed-loop system is unique to PepsiCo and
reinforces our “Power of One” advantage by driving a strategic beverage
innovation via a food-based solution.
We are in the midst of vetting technologies to prepare for our 2012 pilot plant
project to introduce some of these bottles into the market. It’s fundamental to
the program to really understand things like yield loss and efficiency rates to
get the final costing down and to understand the quality and productivity of
those products. We’re also aggressively pursuing a commercial pathway in
conjunction with determining a pilot plant location.F&BP