AI & PepsiCo

Every day PepsiCo is exploring innovative ways to utilise AI, whether it's in the creation of the perfect Cheetos or optimising sales team routes.

AI has become increasingly integrated into daily life, from virtual chats with customer service and social media engagement to self-driving cars and text message autocorrect.

According to Athina Kanioura, Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer at PepsiCo, AI has transformed the way businesses interact with consumers, solve problems, and develop products, with intelligent systems driving these advancements.

PepsiCo uses AI as a key tool for their business and employees. They've embarked on a digital transformation journey that has integrated AI into every aspect of operations to optimise everything from planting potatoes to projecting the number of Lay's chips on store shelves.

The potential uses of AI are vast, and PepsiCo recognizes the significance of its utilisation in becoming future-ready. Join PepsiCo to explore the various beneficial ways in which AI is enhancing human life and how the company relies on it in their daily practices.

Denise Lefebvre, PepsiCo SVP Foods R&D, reveals that AI is transforming the way Cheetos are designed, leaving nothing to chance. Countless hours of research and engineering have been devoted to ensuring that every bag of Cheetos is perfect.

Today, AI is deployed to examine crucial elements such as the crunch, texture, and mouthfeel, as well as the curve of the arc of each Cheeto. To maintain consistency, a specific formula for the amount of Cheeto coating each puff has been developed.

Moreover, natural variations in corn, cheese, and cooking temperatures can cause irregularities that may be detected during the Cheetos production process. Any issues found mean that manufacturing must stop until a new batch is produced, causing delays and waste of ingredients.

The quest for the perfect Cheetos puff is being upgraded through AI technology. PepsiCo's Denise Lefebvre revealed that their latest R&D effort has resulted in a more advanced Cheetos measuring machine that uses AI to assess crucial elements like texture, mouthfeel, and critical angles. They've included a formula for Cheetle coating to ensure consistency in every batch. However, inconsistencies, which can occur due to environmental or manufacturing factors, must be identified to avoid wasted ingredients and unsold products. The Cheetos AI will initially roll out in Spain and may later be implemented with other PepsiCo products.

PepsiCo's research team has proven that AI is an ideal tool to help enhance a product's features since the system can quickly grasp what consumers love and develop a recipe that hits those values.

PepsiCo is exploring ways to leverage AI to revamp its approach to selling products, including the creation of the "perfect store." By using a smartphone camera to capture a video of store shelves, sales reps can create a virtual map in real-time to determine which products need restocking. AI can then analyse the data to tailor products to what sells best in the region, while also factoring in events, seasonality, and promotions. This highly customised approach will transform PepsiCo's planning process and enhance its ability to meet consumer demand.

The next phase of AI is set to be revolutionised by quantum computing, capable of solving complex problems at lightning-fast speeds. This innovation will present an opportunity for travelling sales teams, who face the challenge of devising effective strategies for reaching customers. By harnessing the power of quantum computing, simulations can be conducted in seconds to determine the most efficient route, store, product, and sales to optimise daily operations. Despite this technological advancement, it is important to recognize that people remain an integral part of the AI process, bringing meaning to the vast array of data sets accessible from various sources.

PepsiCo is taking steps to prepare its workforce for the changing landscape of AI by establishing a Digital Academy that will impart comprehensive training on diverse topics encompassing machine learning, virtual reality, robotics, and cloud computing.

Kanioura states that the company has a responsibility to equip its employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to remain relevant in the face of AI, and that upskilling will create new opportunities for career advancement within PepsiCo and beyond. As Bagavathi notes, AI presents boundless and exponential prospects for innovation, and PepsiCo is poised to lead the way.

Yasmin Anderson

AI Catalog's chief editor

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