US food giant PepsiCo turned to Arup to design and develop its largest and most sustainable food production facility in Europe, a 54,700m² plant in Sroda Slaska, Poland. Embracing decarbonisation and circular economy principles, the factory will be carbon neutral by 2035, exporting to over 20 European countries and creating over 450 jobs.

Accelerating net zero 

From initial material selection and prefabrication, Arup calculated the plant’s whole life carbon footprint. This included construction, operation and deconstruction, and highlighted carbon hot spots for the design team to prioritise in reducing emissions. Alongside operational energy efficiency, the facility will generate clean power from photovoltaic panels and its own wind turbine, with plans for an on-site solar farm in the future. Waste heat from food production will also be recovered and used to heat the building and generate steam. 

The plant will embrace circular economy principles by using leftover potato peelings in a biomass generator to provide power whilst converting into crop fertiliser for farmers. A starch recovery system will extract starch from post-process water and, in addition, the water management system will reuse mains water and rainwater for potato cleaning, cooling and irrigation, before finally flushing WCs.

To minimise carbon during construction, we provided training to the contractor team. A sustainability roadmap and green budget will guide low carbon materials choices, including steel selected with future reuse in mind and local procurement to reduce transport emissions. Once operational, the factory will source potatoes from local suppliers that will be delivered in a timely way to avoid the need to store potatoes.

We want our plants to be the greenest, not only in Europe, but around the world. At Sroda Slaska we are reimagining the future of food production.

Silviu Popovici

Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo Europe

Growing social value

Putting users first, Arup asked PepsiCo employees at existing plants in Poland and Turkey about their needs and experiences. This resulted in a user-friendly factory with effective production processes, smooth people flows and the potential for future refurbishments and enlargements without disruption to daily operations. A gym, fitness amenities and a social events programme will promote wellbeing, and new cycle paths, walkways and improvements to local public transport will encourage green travel and active lifestyles.

When the global pandemic hit, our specialists quickly identified interventions to limit the spread of the virus for health and productivity. These included changes to heating, ventilation and air conditioning, contactless changing rooms and limited people flows, so workers from different shifts do not cross paths needlessly.

The power of digital

Arup developed the project using Building Information Modelling (BIM) to enable modern construction methods, and have created a digital twin of the factory to facilitate future maintenance. Using the latest digital tools, we have shortened the project timeline and successfully reduced time losses caused by changes to the project scope, after market growth required an increase in production capacity. Our cost consultants are also using BIM for quantity surveying, to accurately evaluate different option costs.

Working as a trusted advisor

PepsiCo recognised the need for a multidisciplinary team to achieve its ambitious sustainability goals. Working as a trusted advisor, over 100 of Arup’s engineers and experts have provided a range of services, including technical due diligence for site selection, permitting process, full technical design, cost consulting and supporting the overall construction process.