Soda giant PepsiCo has opened a new research lab in downtown New Haven. WNPR’s Diane Orson reports.
The new PepsiCo lab is in New Haven’s Science Park just blocks from Yale’s Obesity clinic which has suggested imposing a tax on sugary sodas. The new PepsiCo lab will focus on developing healthier foods and beverages. The company will also fund a graduate nutritional science fellowship in the M.D./Phd Program at the Yale School of Medicine. There’s no official affiliation with Yale, but Mark Pirner, PepsiCo’s director in Long-Term Research says the company chose New Haven so it could be near Yale, and promote collaborative scientific research.
"Our research has largely been focused on flavors, colors, and we’re very, very good at packaging and processing. But now what we’d like to do is really add biological insights into kind of our innovation program."
Pirner says the new research will be part of an overall strategy to improve, in his words, “the health and wellness credentials” of PepsiCo’s foods and beverages.
Data released in September from a study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research links soda consumption with obesity. The study finds that 62% of teenagers ages 12-17 drink at least one soda or sugar-sweetened beverage daily, and concludes that adults who drink one soda or more per day are 27% more likely to be overweight than those who don’t.
For WNPR, I'm Diane Orson.