US food and beverage giant PepsiCo has invested in Ethiopian crisps firm Senselet Food Processing.

The Frito-Lay and Walkers Crisps owner has joined Senselet’s Dutch founder Veris Investments as a “major shareholder” in the company.

In a statement, Amsterdam-based Veris said it will continue to maintain a minority interest in Senselet and “partner with PepsiCo to further grow the business and develop potato sourcing programmes in Ethiopia”.

Financial details relating to the transaction have not been disclosed and nor has the exact size of the stake PepsiCo has taken in the Addis Ababa-based business.

Senselet, founded in 2015, is said to have “a leading market position” in Ethiopia with its Sun Chips brand that is produced from locally-sourced potatoes. 

Sun Chips is distributed in Addis Ababa and other large Ethiopian cities from Senselet’s factory, located around 65 km from the capital. The crisps maker employs more than 150 people.

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By GlobalData

Veris said it set up Senselet with the aim of building a business that would “contribute to the development of the potato value chain in Ethiopia”.

It has established business partnerships with local farmers over the past three years and facilitated a farmer training programme with the aim to increase yields and produce high-quality potatoes. 

Juliette de Wijkerslooth, managing director of Veris Investments, said: “PepsiCo shares our commitment to work with small- and medium-scale Ethiopian farmers as well as developing the potato value chain and sustainable farming in Ethiopia. 

“Having PepsiCo as a partner will enable Senselet to leverage their extensive global expertise on potato cultivation, manufacturing and go-to-market capabilities as to further grow the company.”

just-food has asked PepsiCo for a comment.