PepsiCo invests €127m in Cork manufacturing and R&D hub

12 May 2023

Image: PepsiCo

The Little Island campus hosts a global R&D digital engineering team, which leads digital initiatives for the company.

Global food and beverage provider PepsiCo has invested €127m in its manufacturing facility in Cork.

The funding will create additional manufacturing capacity and see further investment in its R&D campus.

The company, which boasts a portfolio of well-known brands such as Pepsi Max, 7Up and Doritos, employs more than 1,250 staff in Ireland. Currently, there are more than 40 open roles in Cork.

The new facility will expand PepsiCo’s Little Island manufacturing capacity across its range of beverage ingredients using state-of-the-art manufacturing technology.

The company’s R&D campus also provides regional and global leadership in the areas of beverage development, product research, testing and commercialisation, quality assurance and regulatory management.

Most recently, PepsiCo established a global R&D digital engineering team at the campus, which is leading “significant and transformational digital initiatives” for the company.

Almost 50 years in Cork

Breda Kennedy, PepsiCo’s R&D senior director, said the latest investment in the company’s R&D campus delivers state-of-the-art labs for several quality and research teams and a new contemporary digital solutions suite.

“Investment in our business has driven the growth of our R&D team, from just 10 people in 2007 to more than 130 today. This continued investment will further strengthen our ability to attract the best talent across digital, engineering, analytics, food science, sensory and microbiology,” she said.

PepsiCo has had a presence in Ireland since 1974 and has grown significantly in that time. It opened the Little Island R&D centre more than 10 years ago.

“We have called Cork home for almost 50 years, and our longevity is a testament to the dedication of our talented workforce,” said Brian Colgan, its Little Island site lead.

“This very significant expansion will allow us to increase our manufacturing capacity and ensure that we can continue to meet the global demand for our existing and future products.”

PepsiCo is not the only beverages company investing big in R&D and tech in Ireland. In 2021, Coco-Cola announced a new digital hub in Dublin, creating 40 new roles in its initial phase.

It has also been investing heavily in its Ballina site, which was recognised as one of the world’s most advanced manufacturers by the World Economic Forum earlier this year.

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Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic