What’s the backstory behind PepsiCo bottles?

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Packaging Engineer Jody Small in a lab
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From ergonomics to sustainability, there is an enormous amount of research and development that goes into every bottle PepsiCo produces. See how an R&D principal packaging engineer tackles it all.

“When I was little, the reason why I wanted to be an engineer is just because I want to be able to explain everything,” says Jody Small, R&D principal packaging engineer at PepsiCo. She explains the why and how behind new bottles for brands like Aquafina. She works on industrialization of the package, researches the ergonomics, checks the sustainability of the materials that will be used in producing it and calculates production costs. PepsiCo has supported her curiosity by giving her the opportunity to work abroad and develop her technical skills by launching packaging in Western Europe. The company has also helped her to continue learning about processes, packaging design and industry trends. See how she makes every sip from every bottle count.

Jody Small (R&D principal packaging engineer): The R&D team at PepsiCo, it’s research and development. We are the starting point whenever there’s a new innovation on product and package, whenever there’s new ideas for us to research and develop before bringing it to our facilities, our plants, our consumers, and really hone in on how to make those ideas successful. I work a lot on primary packaging. Packages that the consumer uses on a daily basis. I factor in such things as the ergonomic factors, the industrialization of the package that you’re using and making sure that the final product comes out to the right cost that the business would need to make it successful.

Working at PepsiCo, sustainability is very important. I’m working on making the Aquafina brand more sustainable, and that includes ensuring that we have opportunities to incorporate recycled plastics, incorporate highly recycled material such as cans. Incorporating those in such a major format, that means we would have a big impact on the environment and that’s something to be proud of.

Working at PepsiCo, the opportunities are endless. I had the opportunity to live in Ireland and develop my technical skills, but also taking charge of Western Europe and launching packages. There’s a lot of financial impact to send an ex-pat abroad. The fact that the company invested to allow me to do that says a lot about their care for their talent.

What I’m hoping to accomplish here at PepsiCo is to continue my learning. When I was little, the reason why I wanted to be an engineer is just because I want to be able to explain everything. So looking at a building, it’s like, how is this building here? Or looking at a candy, how was this produced? Working at PepsiCo gave me that opportunity to have that explanation. So continuing to learn more processes, more packaging designs, being up to date on all the industry I think is something that I will always want and always need. I think it’s a great opportunity to work in this field at PepsiCo.