One of the recent product offerings from PepsiCo got its start on a 3D printer, a result of the soft drink giant's increased emphasis on research and development.
Fortune magazine reports that PepsiCo's R&D budget doubled during the eight-year tenure of CEO Indra Nooyi, a decision that helped produce a wave of new products across the company's food brands.
On the soda front, Pepsi debuted lower-calorie Mountain Dew Kickstart, while offering a customizable Gatorade product for athletes and Naked Juice Kale Blazer for the more health-conscious consumer.
In addition, the company's Frito-Lay line rolled out Deep Ridged chips, with ridges twice as deep as those in its Ruffles brand. The company used 3D printing to create prototype chips, which helped lead to a final blade design for cutting potatoes.
“We have patents on the design, the cutter, the mouth experience,” PepsiCo chief scientific officer Mehmood Khan told Fortune. "This is multiple layers of IP.”
Under Nooyi's leadership, PepsiCo stock began outperforming rival Coca-Cola Co. despite consumer preferences that gradually shifted away from its flagship chips and sodas.
The company increasingly cut sugar, salt and saturated fat from its products and introduced healthier options, particularly under its Quaker brand. But the company also launched a new Mountain Dew craft soda in March and last week indicated plans for a craft soda line made with sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup.