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Moving snacks from Point A to Point Z: How Frito-Lay is creating a sustainable supply chain

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Frito-Lay’s fleet sustainability project in Modesto, Calif., is a first-of-its-kind, $30.8 million project for PepsiCo and Frito-Lay. The project is the result of the company’s partnership with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD), which received a grant from California Climate Investments (CCI).

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This article is sponsored by Frito-Lay.

As the impacts of climate change become part of our daily lives, the PepsiCo team recognizes that with scale and resources also comes great responsibility to take bold action. PepsiCo recently announced its climate goal to reduce 75 percent of absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across direct operations and 40 percent in our indirect value chain by 2030. PepsiCo also pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, one decade earlier than called for in the Paris Agreement.

At Frito-Lay, we are doing our part to reduce our environmental impact and help build a more sustainable business. While this is a big task, we are making progress across the organization by taking an innovative approach to transportation and manufacturing processes. 

Frito-Lay is replacing all existing diesel-powered fleet equipment with zero-emission (ZE) and near-zero emission (NZE) technologies at our Modesto, California, manufacturing site, furthering PepsiCo’s mission to reduce its absolute GHG emissions.

Since the first-of-its-kind project for PepsiCo and Frito-Lay was launched in October 2019, the 500,000-square-foot Modesto facility has evolved into an industry-leading showcase for environmentally sustainable manufacturing, warehousing and distribution. It’s the first scaled implementation of alternative fuel vehicles at a Frito-Lay manufacturing facility and was made possible through a grant from California Climate Investments (CCI), a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities. 

The implementation of these technologies over the past year already has led to sustainable impact — reducing the Modesto site’s fleet absolute GHG emissions by 53 percent, or 2,790 metric tons, as well as lowering fleet diesel usage by 78 percent. 

In Modesto, Frito-Lay is upgrading all distribution equipment to alternative fuel solutions — including trucks, tractors, yard tractors, box trucks and forklifts, as well as implementing the necessary infrastructure to support this upgrade. This project marks a milestone in the company’s efforts — one Frito-Lay is proud of. When completed, we anticipate absolute GHG emissions will be reduced by 5,480 metric tons annually and diesel usage will be eliminated entirely from the Modesto fleet operations, the equivalent of removing nearly 13 million miles driven by passenger cars.

Achieving a more fuel-efficient and sustainable fleet is a continuous journey, one that requires forward-thinking and a willingness to adapt to a changing technological landscape. Beyond the fleet, Frito-Lay has been an early adopter of other sustainable business practices — using things such as solar power, water recycling, sustainable agriculture and more. 

Sustainability has been a long-term commitment of the company, and PepsiCo's current sustainability agenda dates back to 2006. While that was only 15 years ago, the continued acceleration of technologies entering the marketplace have enabled our organization to evolve faster than ever before. 

The work in Modesto is significant because it was one of the first sites where solar panels were installed at a Frito-Lay location. Our team is building upon this legacy by using renewable energy to demonstrate the operational, economic and environmental benefits of ZE and NZE technology at manufacturing facilities and warehouses, which we believe can be replicated throughout the industry. 

While this project is only one part of the overall environmental movement, we at Frito-Lay hope it will inspire other companies to take action to reduce environmental impact in whatever ways possible. As our team looks ahead to completing this monumental project, we will have learnings to share to enable others in the industry take on similar efforts. 

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