Pepsi’s 'homemade' SodaStream test: Sales trickle or treat?

By Ben BOUCKLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Image: SodaStream Global
Image: SodaStream Global

Related tags: Coca-cola, Litre, Pepsi

As PepsiCo inks a deal with SodaStream to test launch its brands on the platform, Euromonitor analyst Jonas Feliciano says demand for such Pepsi-branded products is ‘debatable’.

Beverage Digest announced last week that the test will involve major SodaStream customers Wal-Mart and Bed Bath & Beyond in Florida state.

A 10-week test will involve Pepsi ‘homemade’ flavors not sold at retail – Pepsi Homemade, as well as Wild Cherry and Vanilla varieties thereof.

Sierra Mist Homemade will also be launched, alongside Peach and Cranberry versions of that drink.

PepsiCo innovates to slow US soda slide

Euromonitor International, senior beverages analyst Feliciano wrote in a company blog post that the partnership was another example of Pepsi looking to cushion the slide in US soda sales.

Data compiled by his company shows that off-trade CSD volumes in the have slumped from circa. 41m liters in 2003 to 34m in 2013.

Notable Pepsi innovations already this year include Caleb’s Kola and Pepsi True at grocery retail level – Pepsi Spire in the foodservice setting.

And Feliciano said it couldn’t hurt Pepsi to try a small-scale launch with SodaStream to gauge consumer reaction.

Describing the ‘naturally sweetened’ positioning – if indeed, the products are positioned in this fashion – as interesting, Feliciano said it was a departure from the sucralose/acesulfame-K combination often found in SodaStream’s non-naturals line of liquid syrups.

“If this is Pepsi extending their stevia line (that began with Pepsi True in the US), then this shows Pepsi has enough belief in its stevia variant to extend another test launch,”​ he writes.

Small-scale trial a ‘smart move’

But whereas SodaStream’s non-natural syrups only need 10ml of product to make a 240ml soda, its ‘sparkling naturals’ range (with all-natural ingredients) requires consumers to use 30ml to produce the same volume – which naturally means fewer servings per pack and higher per liter prices.

“On its surface, the test launch at least allows Pepsi to assess demand for Pepsi-branded SodaStream products – but the proposition that this demand exists is debatable,” ​Feliciano writes.

Accordingly, the analyst (you can read Feliciano’s full blog post here​), said Pepsi’s small-scale, limited time trial was a “smart move”​ for the firm, which is already testing craft soda Caleb’s Kola with limited distribution in NYC, DC, Maryland and Virginia, and stevia-based Pepsi True, only available online at Amazon.

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