In a nutshell: Since 1966, PepsiCo has invested significantly in University of Minnesota research and outreach initiatives aimed at improving overall food security and developing products that meet human needs for nutrition and enjoyment.
Partnership example: The Oat Global collaboration combines the U of M’s extensive plant sciences expertise with PepsiCo’s ability to put science into practice. Research focuses on improving resistance to oat diseases such as crown rust, with the goal of discovering improved breeding methods and new varieties that will make oats a more viable crop in Minnesota.
Working together: A team of on-site PepsiCo researchers works with faculty, graduate students, and postdocs at the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) to improve raw materials that are used in PepsiCo products—and, ultimately, give consumers a better experience. For example, researchers are looking for ways to increase heart-healthy sugars called beta glucan in oat varieties.
Other collaboration highlights:
- Researchers at PepsiCo use bioinformatics hardware and software at the U of M’s Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI) to process large sets of genetic data generated by the U of M Genomics Center.
- Nearly 500 U of M graduates are current or past members of PepsiCo’s workforce. Four CFANS grad students and two postdoc researchers are supported by PepsiCo.
Impact: “This is an innovative model for collaborative research that connects scientists and leverages diverse skills and perspectives. This approach forges strong research bonds to advance shared goals, thereby achieving more than could have been accomplished alone.”
—Pat Ouimet, research and discovery director of PepsiCo Agro Discovery Group