The soda wars have raged for decades, but the new front in the age-old battle has shifted to a high-tech version of the old soda fountain.
Pepsico is betting Spire—a new touchscreen, make-it-yourself, high-tech beverage fountain—will be a game changer for its food-service business.
Spire currently features three touchscreen models – Spire 1.1, Spire 2.0, and the upcoming Spire 5.0 – which allow consumers to create their own personalised beverages. While the 1.1 model allows up to 40 beverage combinations, the 2.0 model allows 500 combinations, and 5.0 increases that number to 1,000 combinations. The models will support a wide range of PepsiCo brands, as well as zero-calorie flavour shots.
PepsiCo said the new range aims to make soda fountains more “fun”, adding: “Soda fountains in pharmacies and apothecaries, where this all started, were points of engagement where an amazing amount of creativity and innovation took place at the hands of the soda jerk. But somewhere along the line, what was an experience has turned into a transaction, and that’s got to change.”
Coca-Cola currently has an estimated 70% share of the US market for soda fountains, and is itself working hard to promote the benefits of its Freestyle model, launched a few years ago.