Validating the pepsi challenge
For anyone who picked Pepsi, they should have handed them a coupon for a free case—heck, you could even give them a case at a Pepsi truck parked right outside the mall. That’s a whole lot less than the average person spends on soda per year.Further, if they could get the person’s mailing address (remember, this was before email was invented), Pepsi could mail them another coupon for a free case of Pepsi. Mail the new Pepsi drinkers another coupon every two weeks for the next three months. After a few months, send them a nifty Michael Jackson T-shirt or a copy of his newest single (he was their celebrity brand messenger at the time).The Challenge We had 21 Business Insider employees take a blind taste test of the two cola drinks. And while 100% of drinkers were confident they could tell the difference, fewer than 50% actually could. We tallied which soda was their preferred brand and whether they could tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi. However, he said measuring temperatures in low moisture foods was not so straightforward.“With an 18 tonne kiln, sometimes you’ve just got to accept the temperature profiling data is not going to be there.It’s almost impossible to get the device through there – it would take me over a week to get it through and because of how the product moves, you’re not going to get clear data.” But, he said advances in data logging technology meant Pepsi Co was closer to achieving temperature logs in the kiln.“Once you understand the temperature profile attached to the product, then you can use and modify the pilot kit to (validate the kill step).Remember, your courtship with that customer doesn’t end when they give you a try; that’s only the beginning.The Pepsi Challenge has been an ongoing marketing promotion run by Pepsi Co since 1975.
A superior distribution system, effective marketing (before it was called marketing) and incredible brand loyalty created legions of consumers. By an overwhelming majority—and to their own surprise—they were winning hands down.But until you understand all that, it’s very hard to do.”Surrogate analysis also tough Young said Pepsi Co was working with surrogate organisms throughout the process to test for salmonella but this was also tougher than usual in an oat kiln.“You have to ensure the introduction of the surrogate does not alter the standard process…We have to ensure the product flows how it would normally flow to get the best results. With oats, that’s been the hardest challenge – how do we get the surrogate out to do the micro-work on it?While Pepsi no longer runs the campaign, we have always been curious about the "over 50%" part of the Pepsi Challenge results.To put that figure to the test, we staged the Challenge right here at Business Insider.
But Paul Young, senior process authority at Pepsi Co Europe, said this had been no easy task because the validation step faced a number of challenges.“It’s taken some engineering solutions and very challenging ideas,” he told attendees at Campden BRI’s Snacks Technology conference last week.“You’re talking about 18 tonnes of material in one go with large processing vessels, physical constraints, uneven flow and varying residence times.”Temperature profiling the key?