Is Pepsi buying SodaStream a clear sign that people want more customisation?
It was announced in August this year that PepsiCo, the parent company behind products like Tropicana, Pepsi and Doritos, have purchased SodaStream for $3.2 billion. This deal aims to both reduce Pepsi’s reliance on its signature fizzy drinks, as well as help push its environmental credentials.
SodaStream is a device that forces carbon dioxide into water, which converts it from still to sparkling. SodaStream also offers a range of flavoured syrups, that allow users to make soft drinks and flavoured waters in their own home. Although originally very popular in the 70s and 80s, SodaStream is now also popular with eco-conscious consumers as it allows people to cut down on single-use plastic.
This purchase sees PepsiCo moving in a direction that focuses on personalisation and sustainability. A statement from Pepsi’s CEO-elect, Ramon Laguarta, supports this: “SodaStream is highly complementary and incremental to our business, adding to our growing water portfolio while catalysing our ability to offer personalised in-home beverage solutions around the world.”
It will be interesting to see where PepsiCo takes this brand. As it’s already a well-established household name they have its reputation to springboard from and there is arguably no better time to ‘relaunch’ a product that is so focused on sustainability. Existing under the PepsiCo umbrella may also benefit SodaStream by allowing them to incorporate syrups for some of the world’s most beloved soft drinks. In fact, in its heyday several soft drinks including Tizer, Fanta and Irn-Bru affiliated with SodaStream to offer their syrups, so we know this is well in the realms of possibility.
We can see more evidence that PepsiCo is focusing on ‘experience’ drinks and customisation when we look at their recent product, Drinkfinity. Drinkfinity works simply, their custom water bottle allows you to use their flavour pods, which infuse with water, creating your ideal blend. The brand itself, like SodaStream, aims to help people cut down on single-use plastics. In their mission statement, they say: “Our story began with a simple vision: to make a beverage that is better for the planet and the people who drink it. We wanted to craft an authentic drink that gave our consumers choices and empowered them to create their own experience. Our goal is to keep you inspired with new blends and simply great ingredients because they are the driving force behind everything we do.”
It's not just PepsiCo who are looking at creating both sustainable and customisable options. Launched in 2009, Coca-Cola Freestyle®, a touchscreen-operated beverage dispenser, allows the user to choose from a range of over 100 drinks to create their perfect beverage. Whether that means mixing flavours, trying something completely new or sticking to your personal favourite, these machines give customers a staggering range of options. Earlier this year, Vice President and General Manager of the Coca-Cola Freestyle Division had this to say: “Choice and customization are not fads—they’re here to stay. So, we’re focused on making sure the Coca-Cola Freestyle platform stays current and contemporary and that we continue to offer more of the beverages people want.”
It’s these custom experiences I look for in the market, and what I strive to create with Kolibri. Catering to everyone’s individual tastes is something I believe every brand should do, and that’s why I wanted to launch a product that allows everyone express their own individuality. It’s encouraging to see that the market trends are starting to prove me right.
These new business ventures for the soft drinks monoliths shows that even the largest companies in the world are taking note and seeing the shift towards personalised drinks and innovation. I think it’s fantastic to see that at all levels of the market there are more and more options appearing for customisation. I look forward to seeing what PepsiCo has planned for SodaStream…