Snack-Wielding Robots From PepsiCo Are Invading the University of the Pacific

The company says it's reimagining college snacking

College students on one California campus can order snacks and drinks via robots. Pepsico
Headshot of Lisa Lacy

In days of yore, peckish college students had to physically seek out sources of sustenance. No more: Food giant PepsiCo announced it is bringing a fleet of self-driving robots to the nearly 5,000 students at the University of the Pacific’s Stockton, California, campus.

The robot, Snackbot, hails from robotics company Robby Technologies, and will include snacks and drinks from a curated line of healthier PepsiCo products the company calls “Hello Goodness.” This includes its Smartfood Delight, Baked Lay’s, SunChips, Pure Leaf Tea, Bubly, Lifewtr and Starbucks Cold Brew brands.

Snackbot serves students with an “on-demand snacking mentality,” according to a release.

Orders are placed via an iOS app that is available to anyone with a University of the Pacific email address.

Snackbot will deliver from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to 50 designated areas on the Powercats’ campus. This may be a letdown for students with late-night cravings, but PepsiCo said the bots have a range of more than 20 miles per charge and are “equipped with camera and headlights that allow [them] to see and navigate carefully in full darkness or rain, as well as all-wheel drive capabilities for handling curbs and steep hills,” so perhaps 24-hour-a-day Snackbots are in their future.

In a statement, Scott Finlow, vice president of innovation and insights at PepsiCo Foodservice, said Pepsi wants to “reimagine college snacking for the future.”

Matt Camino, director of ecommerce at University of the Pacific Stockton, added, “This innovative technology from PepsiCo is enhancing campus life for our students, staff and faculty alike, who have embraced this new way of snacking from PepsiCo.”

Indeed, now freshmen and upperclassmen alike have a whole new way to put on the Freshman 15.

@lisalacy Lisa Lacy is a senior writer at Adweek, where she focuses on retail and the growing reach of Amazon.