SodaStream Hits A Bulls Eye; A Harbinger For Workplace Refreshments?

Have you seen the TV commercials for SodaStream? The revolutionary home soda maker that lets you make soda at home? With no cleanup? No lugging bottles and cans from the store. Nothing to recycle. Less costly. Add concentrate to the carbonating bottle from a variety of soda and diet soda. A smarter way to enjoy sparkling water and soda.More than 10 million dispensers have been installed in 35 countries. The U.S. is a late comer.Think its just a fad? According to my sources in the retail home products industry, its the hottest thing to come down the pike in a long time. Given the benefits cited above, this isnt hard to believe.Who could imagine no-name carbonated beverages would be making such inroads in the home refreshment market?But no-name no longer.Kraft Foods Inc. recently signed a manufacturing, marketing, distribution and sales contract with SodaStream, marking the first time Kraft flavors will be available for use with a carbonated beverage. The initial Kraft brands will include Crystal Light, Country Time and an all natural lemonade.Wont consumers want something similar in the work place?Product and equipment manufacturers have been working on a bulk beverage dispenser for the work place for years. But the work environment has always been one that the product manufacturers and refreshment service operators have been afraid of when it comes to bulk beverage dispensers. Back when cup drink machines were part of the vending trade, product manufacturers and operators eventually favored packaged drink machines. The tabletop Coca-Cola BreakMate also failed due to product consistency and concerns about cross contamination. It took an unusually dedicated operator to make it work.But times are changing, and technology is creating new opportunities.On the commercial foodservice side, the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine uses cartridges and touchscreen technology to allow customers to mix and make their own drinks. Freestyle is in test mode at the present time; sources claim a vending application is not even on the horizon.Enterprising vending operators are able to find fountain vending machines that work with 2.5-gallon postmix syrup. Operators Ive spoken with claim product suppliers are very supportive of these machines and the profit blows away packaged drinks. But these machines are only feasible in large locations.On the hot beverage side, the single-serve brewer has proven it can deliver quality, reliability and variety. Many people didnt believe it would work.Technology is changing the way we do just about everything.Im betting it wont be long before we see a viable cold beverage fountain solution for the office.

Loading