Pepsico CEO: Be worried, but embrace Amazon

INOOYIPepsico CEO Indra Nooyi has said she’ll look to embrace Amazon’s move into grocery by extending the FMCG giant’s partnership with its latest acquisition, Whole Foods.

In a wide-ranging interview with Fortune, Nooyi said the FMCG sector should be “worried” about Amazon’s Whole Foods acquisition, but that partnering ultimately represented a good business opportunity for Pepsico.

“Amazon is one of the most powerful companies in the world,” she said. “They’re playing beautifully on your psyche, knowing you better than you know yourself,” she told Fortune.

“They’re going to use Whole Foods stores as replenishment and supply points, they’ve got this brick and mortar where they can understand how people shop, so it’s a learning tool.

“What they want to do is improve the quality of life for consumers by reducing the price on lots of items and removing every friction point, they’re approaching it in a very consumer-centric way, and they’re going to be an important force we should all be worried about,” she continued.

Pepsico has 22 brands, but thusfar only Tropicana, Near East and Quaker are stocked at Whole Foods, something Nooyi will look to change.

“When a disruptor comes in, don’t look at it as, ‘here’s someone who’s going to kill your business’, think of how they’re going to aid your business,” she said.

Nooyi, who has been CEO of Pepsico since 2006 and is regarded as one of the most powerful women in business the world over, is no stranger to industry disruption.

Having navigated Pepsico’s suite of brands through the global financial crisis, she is now grappling with a rapidly changing consumer palate that’s increasingly sugar conscious.

Nooyi’s advice also comes as the Australian FMCG industry prepares for the arrival of Amazon Down Under, a move that’s been widely considered to be an opportunity for the sector to break-away from the power of the big-two supermarkets in the online space.


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